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Maintenance of ecologically significant genetic variation in the tiger swallowtail butterfly through differential selection and gene flow






Evolution 49(6): 1163-1171

Maintenance of ecologically significant genetic variation in the tiger swallowtail butterfly through differential selection and gene flow

Differential selection in a heterogeneous environment is thought to promote the maintenance of ecologically significant genetic variation. Variation is maintained when selection is counterbalanced by the homogenizing effects of gene flow and random mating. In this study, we examine the relative importance of differential selection and gene flow in maintaining genetic variation in Papilio glaucus. Differential selection on traits contributing to successful use of host plants (oviposition preference and larval performance) was assessed by comparing the responses of southern Ohio, north central Georgia, and southern Florida populations of P. glaucus to three hosts: Liriodendron tulipifera, Magnolia virginiana, and Prunus serotina. Gene flow among populations was estimated using allozyme frequencies from nine polymorphic loci. Significant genetic differentiation was observed among populations for both oviposition preference and larval performance. This differentiation was interpreted to be The result of selection acting on Florida P. glaucus for enhanced use of Magnolia, the prevalent host in Florida. In contrast, no evidence of population differentiation was revealed by allozyme frequencies. F-ST-values were very small and Nm, an estimate of the relative strengths of gene flow and genetic drift, was large, indicating that genetic exchange among P. glaucus populations is relatively unrestricted. The contrasting patterns of spatial differentiation for host-use traits and lack of differentiation for electrophoretically detectable variation implies that differential selection among populations will be counterbalanced by gene flow, thereby maintaining genetic variation for host-use traits.

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Accession: 002889019

DOI: 10.2307/2410441



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