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Fitness of allozyme variants in Drosophila pseudoobscura. I. Selection at the PGM-1 and Me-2 loci.


We have studied in Drosophila pseudoobscura the effect of allozyme variation on seven fitness components: female fecundity, egg hatchability, egg-to-adult survival under near-optimal and under competitive conditions, rate of development under near-optimal and under competitive conditions, and mating capacity of males. Three genotypes at each of two loci, Pgm-1 and Me-2, have been studied in various combinations. These two loci are highly polymorphic in natural populations of D. pseudoobscura. Statistically significant differences involving one or more genotypes exist for all components of fitness. No single genotype is best for all fitness components; rather the relative fitnesses of genotypes are reversed when different parameters are considered, or when they are studied in different environmental conditions. Also, the average egg-to-adult survival and rate of development are better when different genotypes are reared together than when they occur in pure culture. Four different modes of selection have been uncovered by our experiments. These forms of selection may account for the persistence of the two allozyme polymorphisms in nature, and for previously observed seasonal fluctuations of the allelic frequencies in natural populations.

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