Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology

Experimental evolution with Drosophila

Molly K. Burke, Michael R. Rose


Experimental evolution is a powerful approach that can be used for the study of adaptation. Evolutionary biologists often use Drosophila as a model organism in experiments that test theories about the evolution of traits related to fitness. Such evolution experiments can take three forms: direct selection for a trait of interest; surveys of traits of interest in populations selected for other traits; and reverse selection. We review some of the Drosophila experiments that have provided insight into both the evolution of particular physiological traits and the correlations between physiological and life history traits, focusing on stress resistance. The most common artifacts that can obscure the results from evolution experiments are discussed. We also include a treatment of genomic technologies that are now available for the Drosophila model. The primary goal of this review is to introduce the kind of experimental evolution strategies and technologies that evolutionary physiologists might use in the future.

  • correlations
  • Drosophila
  • laboratory evolution
  • physiology
  • stress resistance
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