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Effect of adh genotype and heat stress on alcohol tolerance in Drosophila melanogaster

Nature volume 296, pages 853855 (29 April 1982) | Download Citation

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Abstract

The alcohol dehydrogenase locus (adh) is polymorphic in most natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster1–11. Eight alleles have been identified on the basis of allozyme elec-trophoretic mobility and thermostability; two of these, adhFm and adhSm, generally have combined frequencies of 90%. In four widely separate locations these major alleles display a clinal change in frequency, that of adh Fm increasing with latitude and altitude3–6,11. Biochemical studies have shown that the Fm allozyme (ADHFm) is more active, but less heat-resistant, than ADHSm(refs 12–14). The fact that these differences are associated with the geographical distribution of the alleles suggests that environmental temperature may be a selective factor in maintaining this polymorphism. We have investigated the effect of high temperature on flies having ADH allozymes with a range of thermostabilities and report here that flies which have relatively labile enzymes show reduced survival on alcohol-supplemented food compared with flies possessing more heat-resistant allozymes.

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Author information

Affiliations

  1. Department of Biological Sciences, Chicago State University, Chicago, Illinois 60628, USA

    • B. Sampsell
    •  & S. Sims

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https://doi.org/10.1038/296853a0

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