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Open Access Research article

Geographic distributions of Idh-1 alleles in a cricket are linked to differential enzyme kinetic performance across thermal environments

Diana L Huestis12*, Brenda Oppert13 and Jeremy L Marshall1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Entomology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, USA

2 Laboratory of Malaria and Vector Research, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, 12735 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville, MD 20852, USA

3 USDA ARS Grain Marketing and Production Research Center, Manhattan, KS 66502, USA

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BMC Evolutionary Biology 2009, 9:113  doi:10.1186/1471-2148-9-113

Published: 21 May 2009

Abstract

Background

Geographic clines within species are often interpreted as evidence of adaptation to varying environmental conditions. However, clines can also result from genetic drift, and these competing hypotheses must therefore be tested empirically. The striped ground cricket, Allonemobius socius, is widely-distributed in the eastern United States, and clines have been documented in both life-history traits and genetic alleles. One clinally-distributed locus, isocitrate dehydrogenase (Idh-1), has been shown previously to exhibit significant correlations between allele frequencies and environmental conditions (temperature and rainfall). Further, an empirical study revealed a significant genotype-by-environmental interaction (GxE) between Idh-1 genotype and temperature which affected fitness. Here, we use enzyme kinetics to further explore GxE between Idh-1 genotype and temperature, and test the predictions of kinetic activity expected under drift or selection.

Results

We found significant GxE between temperature and three enzyme kinetic parameters, providing further evidence that the natural distributions of Idh-1 allele frequencies in A. socius are maintained by natural selection. Differences in enzyme kinetic activity across temperatures also mirror many of the geographic patterns observed in allele frequencies.

Conclusion

This study further supports the hypothesis that the natural distribution of Idh-1 alleles in A. socius is driven by natural selection on differential enzymatic performance. This example is one of several which clearly document a functional basis for both the maintenance of common alleles and observed clines in allele frequencies, and provides further evidence for the non-neutrality of some allozyme alleles.