Faculté des sciences

Reduced learning ability as a consequence of evolutionary adaptation to nutritional stress in Drosophila melanogaster

Kolss, Munjong ; Kawecki, Tadeusz J.

In: Ecological Entomology, 2008///doi:10.1111/j.1365-2311.2008.01007.x

Abstract. 1. Dietary conditions affect cognitive abilities of many species, but it is unclear to what extent this physiological effect translates into an evolutionary relationship.2. A reduction of competitive ability under nutritional stress has been reported as a correlated response to selection for learning ability in Drosophila melanogaster. Here we test whether the reverse holds as well,... Plus

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    Summary
    Abstract. 1. Dietary conditions affect cognitive abilities of many species, but it is unclear to what extent this physiological effect translates into an evolutionary relationship.2. A reduction of competitive ability under nutritional stress has been reported as a correlated response to selection for learning ability in Drosophila melanogaster. Here we test whether the reverse holds as well, i.e. whether an evolutionary adaptation to poor food conditions leads to a decrease in learning capacities.3. Populations of D. melanogaster were: (i) not subject to selection (control), (ii) selected for improved learning ability, (iii) selected for survival and fast development on poor food, or (iv) subject to both selection regimes.4. There was no detectable response to selection for learning ability.5. Selection on poor food led to higher survival, faster development and smaller adult size as a direct response, and to reduced learning ability as a correlated response. This study supports the hypothesis that adaptation to poor nutrition is likely to trade off with the evolution of improved learning ability.