"Phenotypic plasticity in recombination in Drosophila melanogaster", Nadia Singh, Associate Professor at the Department of Biology, University of Oregon
Source: BRS series
Meiotic recombination rate is phenotypic plastic, varying in response to a number of environmental stimuli. Recombination seems particularly plastic in response to stressors, including pathogens, aging, and starvation. Though plastic recombination is pervasive and has been documented in a diversity of taxa, a number of open questions remain. First, is recombination plastic in response to stimuli that are not associated with organismal stress? Second, what is the genetic basis of plastic recombination? Here we address these questions using Drosophila as a model system. We show that infection with both pathogenic and endosymbiotic bacteria leads to a plastic increase in the production of recombinant offspring, suggesting that plastic recombination is not solely induced by stressful conditions. In addition, estimates of recombination rate from experimentally evolved lines of D. melanogaster at multiple temperatures indicate that the genetic architecture of recombination rate is separable from the genetic architecture of plastic recombination. Whole genome sequencing of these lines points to candidate genes and alleles mediating population-level differences in recombination. Together, these results expand our understanding of the scope of stimuli associated with plastic recombination and indicate that the genetic basis of plasticity in a trait is not tied to the genetic basis of population level variation in that trait.