Selection for reproduction under short photoperiods changes diapause-associated traits and induces widespread genomic divergence

Hannele Kauranen, Johanna Kinnunen, Anna-Lotta Hiillos, Pekka Lankinen, David Hopkins, R. Axel W. Wiberg, Michael G. Ritchie, Anneli Hoikkala

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The incidence of reproductive diapause is a critical aspect of life history in overwintering insects from temperate regions. Much has been learned about the timing, physiology and genetics of diapause in a range of insects, but how the multiple changes involved in this and other photoperiodically regulated traits are inter-related is not well understood. We performed quasinatural selection on reproduction under short photoperiods in a northern fly species, Drosophila montana, to trace the effects of photoperiodic selection on traits regulated by the photoperiodic timer and/or by a circadian clock system. Selection changed several traits associated with reproductive diapause, including the critical day length for diapause (CDL), the frequency of diapausing females under photoperiods that deviate from daily 24 h cycles and cold tolerance, towards the phenotypes typical of lower latitudes. However, selection had no effect on the period of free-running locomotor activity rhythm regulated by the circadian clock in fly brain. At a genomic level, selection induced extensive divergence from the control line in 16 gene clusters involved in signal transduction, membrane properties, immunologlobulins and development. These changes resembled those detected between latitudinally divergent D. montana populations in the wild and involved SNP divergence associated with several genes linked with diapause induction. Overall, our study shows that photoperiodic selection for reproduction under short photoperiods affects diapause-associated traits without disrupting the central clock network generating circadian rhythms in fly locomotor activity.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberjeb205831
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019


  • Reproductive diapause
  • Critical day length
  • Cold tolerance
  • Genome analyses
  • Photoperiodic timer
  • Circadian clock


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