Life-History Strategies and the Genetic Structure of Phytophagous Insect Populations

  • Merrill A. Peterson
  • Robert F. Denno


Spatial variation in selection creates the potential for local adaptation, but the realization of this potential is governed by the balance between selection and the countering effects of both genetic drift and gene flow (Slatkin 1973, 1987; Endler 1977). Strong selection can generally overcome the effects of all but the most extreme levels of genetic drift (Wright 1931; Fisher 1958), but moderate gene flow from nearby populations in which alternate traits are favored can theoretically prevent the evolution of locally adapted demes, even under fairly strong selective regimes (Slatkin 1973, 1985a; May et al. 1975). Furthermore, the spatial scale at which local adaptations develop is influenced by the spatial scale of gene flow. For species with broad-scale gene flow, adaptation may occur at a regional scale, whereas for species with limited gene flow, it may occur over much smaller spatial scales (Slatkin 1973; Endler 1979; Hanks and Denno 1994; Thomas and Singer, Chapter 14, this volume). Thus, to thoroughly understand both the conditions that favor the evolution of local adaptations in phytophagous insects and the scale at which those adaptations occur, it is essential to elucidate the factors that influence gene flow among populations.


Gene Flow Population Genetic Structure Flow Estimate Phytophagous Insect Allozyme Variation 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Merrill A. Peterson
    • 1
  • Robert F. Denno
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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