Selection for late-life fecundity and longevity in adult Drosophila melanogaster is well known to modify numerous characteristics of life history and physiology. We report experiments here in which selection applied to behavior affects features in an identical fashion. Selection for feeding rate of larval D. melanogaster modifies caloric intake, as measured by the uptake and incorporation of labeled glucose. Selection for slow larval feeding produced lines of D. melanogaster in which larvae synthesized significantly less lipid prior to pupation and eclosed to have low early-life fecundity and a long life as adults. They also had greater lifetime fecundity, but lower viability of egg to hatched adult. Alternatively, fast-feeding larvae incorporated more lipid before pupation and eclosed with high early-fecundity that declined rapidly throughout their short adult life. Slow-feeding populations also had a significantly enhanced expression of the stress-resistance genes CuZn-SOD, CATALASE, and HSP70. Selection on larval feeding behavior reproduced the antagonistic evolutionary trade-off found under selection for adult life span and mimicked the physiological response in life span as seen in many species when dietary restriction is imposed on adults. Thus, nutrient acquisition during development appears to share a common evolutionary and genetic basis with the allocation processes that determine adult life-history traits and the related phenotypic dietary restriction phenomena.
Corresponding Editor: S. Pitnick