Maternal source of variability in the embryo development of an annual killifish

Polačik, M., Smith, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-3285-0379 and Reichard, M., 2017. Maternal source of variability in the embryo development of an annual killifish. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 30 (4), pp. 738-749. ISSN 1010-061X

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Organisms inhabiting unpredictable environments often evolve diversified reproductive bethedging strategies, expressed as production of multiple offspring phenotypes, thereby avoiding complete reproductive failure. To cope with unpredictable rainfall, African annual killifish from temporary savannah pools lay drought-resistant eggs that vary widely in the duration of embryo development. We examined the sources of variability in the duration of individual embryo development, egg production and fertilization rate in Nothobranchius furzeri. Using a quantitative genetics approach (North Carolina Type II design) we found support for maternal effects rather than polyandrous mating as the primary source of the variability in the duration of embryo development. The number of previously laid eggs appeared to serve as an internal physiological cue initiating a shift from rapid to slow embryo developmental mode. In annual killifish extensive phenotypic variability in progeny traits is adaptive, as the conditions experienced by parents have limited relevance to the offspring generation. In contrast to genetic control, with high phenotypic expression and heritability, maternal control of traits under natural selection prevents standing genetic diversity from potentially detrimental effects of selection in fluctuating environments.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Creators: Polačik, M., Smith, C. and Reichard, M.
Publisher: Wiley Blackwell on behalf of the European Society for Evolutionary Biology
Date: April 2017
Volume: 30
Number: 4
ISSN: 1010-061X
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 13 Aug 2019 08:42
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2019 08:42

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