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Reciprocal cross differences in Drosophila melanogaster longevity: an evidence for non-genomic effects in heterosis phenomenon?

April 2013, Volume 14, Issue 2, pp 153-163

A. M. Vaiserman,  O. G. Zabuga,  A. K. Kolyada,  A. V. Pisaruk,  I. A. Kozeretska

Reciprocal cross effects (i.e., differences between reciprocal hybrids that are developed by reversing the strains from which the dam and the sire are taken) are commonly used as a measure of sex-linkage or maternal effects. However, the papers reporting parental effects on life span of experimental animals are scarce. In order to investigate the potential of parent-of-origin effects for the longevity of hybrids, we determined the life spans of the inbred lines of Drosophila melanogaster[OregonR (OR), CantonS (CS) and Uman (Um)] that differ significantly in longevity, as well as the life span of the progeny from the reciprocal crosses among them. The hybridization caused the increase in both flies’ mean and maximum life span mainly shifting the survival curves upward proportionally at all ages. This resulted in the reduction in the Gompertz intercept (frailty) whereas the Gompertz slope (the rate of aging) was predominantly unchanged. Better-parent heterosis was observed in hybrids between OR and Um inbred lines and the extent of heterosis was more pronounced in hybrids between CS and Um inbred lines if long-lived parent was used as the female parent, and short-lived parent was used as the male parent in the crossing scheme. Such discrepancy in life span between reciprocal crosses may indicate that non-chromosomal factors are significantly contributing to a heterotic response. Our data are in line with the previous reports suggesting the involvement of non-genomic factors, particularly epigenetic events attributed to hybridization, in the manifestation of heterosis.

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