Poster Presentation Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution Conference 2016

The genetic architecture of cold tolerance plasticity in the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel (#376)

Michael Ørsted 1 , Palle Duun Rohde 2 , Torsten Nygaard Kristensen 1
  1. Section of Biology and Environmental Science, Department of Chemistry and Bioscience, Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark
  2. Center for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Tjele, Denmark

Developments in molecular biology and bioinformatics have enabled researchers to associate individual genetic markers such as single nucleotide polymorphisms, SNPs, with phenotypic variation. Traditional genome-wide-association-studies (GWAS) enables identification of individual genetic markers associated with variation in a phenotypic trait, but for complex traits such as responses to environmental stress, this single variant method is highly underpowered. Instead, statistical methods utilizing the collective action of multiple genetic markers within a biological pathway might have more power to detect biological causality. We used 166 inbred lines of the Drosophila Genetic Reference Panel (DGRP) to investigate genotype-by-environment-interactions (GxE) across five developmental temperatures ranging from 17 to 29°C. We assessed cold tolerance of adult flies from each developmental temperature using the measure critical thermal minimum (CTmin). Variation in the plasticity of cold tolerance in the DGRP were then determined as the norm of reaction of individual lines across the five developmental temperatures. By grouping genetic markers (approximately 2 million) by biological pathways we aim at identifying sets of genetic markers associated with the norm of reaction to detect genetic fingerprints of plastic and canalized genotypes. Additionally, we associate genetic variation with variation in basal cold tolerance in flies from each developmental temperature to investigate whether the same genetic architecture can explain variation in cold tolerance across developmental temperatures. Cold tolerance differed significantly among the developmental temperatures with CTmin spanning from 1.5 to 11.4°C in flies developing at 17 and 29°C, respectively. Large variation in CTmin between the lines within each developmental temperature indicates a strong genetic component of cold tolerance. We found significant variation in the slope of reaction curves, thus genetic variation for plasticity of cold tolerance within the DGRP. Preliminary association analyses have identified several regions of the genome that explain differences in cold tolerance within temperatures and in the plasticity of cold tolerance.