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Intraspecific Genetic Variation for Lead-Induced Changes in Reproductive Strategies


We aimed to identify genetic variation in the response of reproductive behaviors to lead (Pb2+) exposure. We reared a subset of the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP) inbred lines on control or Pb-treated (500 μM PbAc) medium and tested for differences in copulation latency, copulation duration, and fecundity. Pb exposure decreased fecundity (p < 0.05) and increased copulation duration (p < 0.05) across DGRP lines. We found intraspecific genetic variation in latency, duration, and fecundity in both control and Pb-treated flies, with heritability ranging from 0.45 to 0.80. We found a significant genotype-by-environment interaction for copulation duration (p < 0.05). Genetic correlation matrices revealed significant genetic variation in common between control and Pb-treated flies for each trait (p < 0.05). Our results indicate that intraspecific genetic variation plays a role in Pb susceptibility and emphasize the importance of considering the impacts of variation in susceptibility to Pb pollution.

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This work was supported by funding from the Department of Biological Sciences (University at Albany-State University of New York) and the Department of Biology (Skidmore College). We would like to thank Dr. Gregory Lnenicka (Department of Biological Sciences, University at Albany-State University of New York), Dr. David Lawrence (Department of Environmental Health Sciences, University at Albany-State University of New York), Dr. Robert Osuna (Department of Biological Sciences, University at Albany-State University of New York) and Dr. Roman Yukilevich (Department of Biology, Union College) for their advice and support throughout the development, implementation and writing of this research. We would also like to thank Lindsay Bouchard, Julie Kappil, and Mark Waterhouse for their assistance during mating or fecundity assays.

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Correspondence to Elizabeth K. Peterson.

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Peterson, E.K., Possidente, B., Stark, A. et al. Intraspecific Genetic Variation for Lead-Induced Changes in Reproductive Strategies. Bull Environ Contam Toxicol 103, 233–239 (2019).

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  • Genetic variation
  • Copulation latency
  • Copulation duration
  • Fecundity
  • Accumulation