Environmental stress and the expression of genetic variation

N. L. Jenkins, C. M. Sgrò, A. A. Hoffmann

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


We have started to test the effects of environmental extremes on the expression of genetic variation for traits likely to be under selection in natural populations. We have shown that field heritability may be high for stress response traits in contrast to morphological traits, which tend to show lower levels of heritable variation in nature compared with the laboratory. Selection for increased stress resistance can lead to a number of other evolutionary changes, and these may underlie trade-offs between favourable and stressful environments. Temperature extremes can have a marked influence on the heritability of life history traits. Heritabilities for fecundity can be high when parental flies are reared at low temperatures and under field conditions. The expression of genetic variation for development time is somewhat more complex when temperature extremes are considered. Populations at species margins may be ideal for studying the effects of environmental stress on evolution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-96
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1997
Externally publishedYes

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