Costs of resistance : genetic correlations and potential trade-offs in an insect immune system.

Cotter, S. L. and Kruuk, L. E. B. and Wilson, Kenneth (2004) Costs of resistance : genetic correlations and potential trade-offs in an insect immune system. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 17 (2). pp. 421-429. ISSN 1420-9101

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Theory predicts that natural selection will erode additive genetic variation in fitness-related traits. However, numerous studies have found considerable heritable variation in traits related to immune function, which should be closely linked to fitness. This could be due to trade-offs maintaining variation in these traits. We used the Egyptian cotton leafworm, Spodoptera littoralis, as a model system to examine the quantitative genetics of insect immune function. We estimated the heritabilities of several different measures of innate immunity and the genetic correlations between these immune traits and a number of life history traits. Our results provide the first evidence for a potential genetic trade-off within the insect immune system, with antibacterial activity (lysozyme-like) exhibiting a significant negative genetic correlation with haemocyte density, which itself is positively genetically correlated with both haemolymph phenoloxidase activity and cuticular melanization. We speculate on a potential trade-off between defence against parasites and predators, mediated by larval colour, and its role in maintaining genetic variation in traits under natural selection.

Item Type: Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title: Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Uncontrolled Keywords: /dk/atira/pure/researchoutput/libraryofcongress/qh301
Departments: Faculty of Science and Technology > Lancaster Environment Centre
ID Code: 8995
Deposited By: Dr Kenneth Wilson
Deposited On: 20 May 2008 15:01
Refereed?: Yes
Published?: Published
Last Modified: 20 Feb 2020 06:17

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