Response of Two Heat Shock Genes to Selection for Knockdown Heat Resistance in Drosophila melanogaster
Gawain McColl, Ary A. Hoffmann, Stephen W. McKechnie


To identify genes involved in stress resistance and heat hardening, replicate lines of Drosophila melanogaster were selected for increased resistance to knockdown by a 39° heat stress. Two selective regimes were used, one with and one without prior hardening. Mean knockdown times were increased from ~5 min to >20 min after 18 generations. Initial realized heritabilities were as high as 10% for lines selected without hardening, and crosses between lines indicated simple additive gene effects for the selected phenotypes. To survey allelic variation and correlated selection responses in two candidate stress genes, hsr-omega and hsp68, we applied denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis to amplified DNA sequences from small regions of these genes. After eight generations of selection, allele frequencies at both loci showed correlated responses for selection following hardening, but not without hardening. The hardening process itself was associated with a hsp68 frequency change in the opposite direction to that associated with selection that followed hardening. These stress loci are closely linked on chromosome III, and the hardening selection established a disequilibrium, suggesting an epistatic effect on resistance. The data indicate that molecular variation in both hsr-omega and hsp68 contribute to natural heritable variation for hardened heat resistance.

  • Received October 28, 1995.
  • Accepted April 9, 1996.