Fruit flies diversify their offspring in response to parasite infection

Nadia D. Singh, Dallas R. Criscoe, Shelly Skolfield, Kathryn P. Kohl, Erin S. Keebaugh, Todd A. Schlenke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations

Abstract

The evolution of sexual reproduction is often explained by Red Queen dynamics: Organisms must continually evolve to maintain fitness relative to interacting organisms, such as parasites. Recombination accompanies sexual reproduction and helps diversify an organism's offspring, so that parasites cannot exploit static host genotypes. Here we show that Drosophila melanogaster plastically increases the production of recombinant offspring after infection. The response is consistent across genetic backgrounds, developmental stages, and parasite types but is not induced after sterile wounding. Furthermore, the response appears to be driven by transmission distortion rather than increased recombination. Our study extends the Red Queen model to include the increased production of recombinant offspring and uncovers a remarkable ability of hosts to actively distort their recombination fraction in rapid response to environmental cues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747-750
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume349
Issue number6249
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 14 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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