The dipteran Drosophila melanogaster can express a form of reproductive quiescence or diapause when exposed to low temperature and shortened photoperiod. Among natural populations in the eastern United States, the frequency of lines that express reproductive diapause in the laboratory varies substantially and predictably with latitudinal origin. The goals of the present study were twofold: (1) to examine the impact of genetic variance for diapause expression on multiple traits associated with organismal fitness; and (2) to evaluate the potential for fitness trade-offs between diapause and nondiapause phenotypes that may result in the observed cline. Even prior to diapause entry or expression, inbred lines that express and do not express reproductive diapause in laboratory assays were constitutively distinct for life span, age-specific mortality rates, fecundity profiles, resistance to cold and starvation stress, lipid content, development time, and egg-to-adult viability. Furthermore, estimates of genetic correlations based on line means revealed significant differentiation for genetic variance/covariance matrices between diapause and nondiapause lines. The data indicate the potential for life-history trade-offs associated with variation for the diapause phenotype. The observed cline in diapause incidence in the eastern United States may be generated by these trade-offs and the associated spatial and/or temporal variation in relative fitness of these two phenotypes in natural populations.
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Vol. 59 • No. 12