Genetic architecture underlying convergent evolution of egg-laying behavior in a seed-feeding beetle

Charles W. Fox, James D. Wagner, Sara Cline, Frances Ann Thomas, Frank J. Messina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Independent populations subjected to similar environments often exhibit convergent evolution. An unresolved question is the frequency with which such convergence reflects parallel genetic mechanisms. We examined the convergent evolution of egg-laying behavior in the seed-feeding beetle Callosobruchus maculatus. Females avoid ovipositing on seeds bearing conspecific eggs, but the degree of host discrimination varies among geographic populations. In a previous experiment, replicate lines switched from a small host to a large one evolved reduced discrimination after 40 generations. We used line crosses to determine the genetic architecture underlying this rapid response. The most parsimonious genetic models included dominance and/or epistasis for all crosses. The genetic architecture underlying reduced discrimination in two lines was not significantly different from the architecture underlying differences between geographic populations, but the architecture underlying the divergence of a third line differed from all others. We conclude that convergence of this complex trait may in some cases involve parallel genetic mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments This research was supported by grants from Kentucky EPSCoR (to CWF and JDW), the University of Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station (to CWF), and the Utah Agricultural Experiment Station (to FJM; paper no. 8010).


  • Callosobruchus
  • Dominance
  • Epistasis
  • Host shift
  • Hybrid
  • Line cross
  • Oviposition preference

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics
  • Plant Science
  • Insect Science


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