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The evolution and plasticity of life histories upon variation in nutrition: on aging focused integrative approach

Promotores: Prof.dr. P.M. Brakefield, Prof.dr. B.J. Zwaan (Wageningen Universiteit)

J. van den Heuvel
25 november 2014
Thesis in Leiden Repository

In this thesis I describe studies of life history traits under variation in nutrition focused on ageing. The predictive adaptive response is a type of plastic response which is advantageous later in life, rather than immediately. We tested with a resource allocation model whether for a relatively short-lived organism, Bicyclus anynana increasing allocation to dispersal capability would be advantageous as an adult, when the individual would be stressed as a larva. This was indeed the case. Using a similar model we tested whether increased lifespan under dietary restriction would be evolutionary conserved. This did not seem to be the case. Then we describe how traits and gene expression in fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) was affected by sustained cycles of low and high food, compared to constant food controls. Furthermore we compare predictions from a model, in which the relationship between fecundity and lifespan changes with the age of the flies measured. Lastly we test whether genetic variation in genes described in model organisms under laboratory conditions can be correlated to phenotypic variation in life history traits under natural conditions of the least killifish (Heterandria formosa). Indeed this was the case.

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