SULSA 2019 Technology seed fund - “Pure Baltic”: sex and gene expression in the cold-adapted fly Drosophila montana

  • Cook, Nicola (Principal Investigator)
  • Salavati, Mazdak (Principal Investigator)
  • Kankare, Maaria (Principal Investigator)
  • Wiberg, R Axel W (Principal Investigator)

Project Details


SULSA Technology seed funding grant:

The ability to cope with changing seasonal conditions is a key adaptive trait for many species. Differences in thermal tolerance are likely to evolve as climate changes and will impact on geographic distribution. But what if the ability to adapt is genetically constrained?
Drosophila montana is an extremely cold-tolerant malt fly with unique adaptations to seasonally varying environmental conditions including photoperiodic reproductive diapause and a strong inducible cold acclimation response, both of which have a strong genetic basis (Tyukmaeva et al. 2011, Vesala and Hoikkala 2011). D. montana populations across a latitudinal gradient exhibit cold tolerance (CT) levels intuitively associated with climatic variation but CT varies significantly between the sexes in some populations (Wiberg et al. in prep). There is no reason to suspect context-specific, sexually antagonistic selection over CT. However, genetic constraints between the sexes due to pleiotropy on other traits could explain sex-related sub-optimal expression of the CT phenotype (Grath and Parsch 2016) and ultimately present in a limited capacity to adapt to anthropogenic climate change.
Here, we will examine sex-specific expression patterns and regulation (allele-specific expression) of D. montana cold tolerance genes to explore the genetic barriers to adaptation as the global climate changes at an unprecedented rate.
Effective start/end date19/06/1918/06/20