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Migration and the Genetic Covariance between Habitat Preference and Performance

P. Nosil, B. J. Crespi, C. P. Sandoval and M. Kirkpatrick
The American Naturalist
Vol. 167, No. 3 (March 2006), pp. E66-E78
DOI: 10.1086/499383
Stable URL:
Page Count: 13
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Abstract: Studies of the genetic covariance between habitat preference and performance have reported conflicting outcomes ranging from no covariance to strong covariance. The causes of this variability remain unclear. Here we show that variation in the magnitude of genetic covariance can result from variability in migration regimes. Using data from walking stick insects and a mathematical model, we find that genetic covariance within populations between host plant preference and a trait affecting performance on different hosts (cryptic color pattern) varies in magnitude predictably among populations according to migration regimes. Specifically, genetic covariance within populations is high in heterogeneous habitats where migration between populations locally adapted to different host plants generates nonrandom associations (i.e., linkage disequilibrium) between alleles at color pattern and host preference loci. Conversely, genetic covariance is low in homogeneous habitats where a single host exists and migration between hosts does not occur. Our results show that habitat structure and patterns of migration can strongly affect the evolution and variability of genetic covariance within populations.

Notes and References

This item contains 62 references.

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