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Resurrecting the metabolome: Rapid evolution magnifies the metabolomic plasticity to predation in a natural Daphnia population
  • Chao Zhang
Chao Zhang
Shandong University
Author Profile


Populations rely on phenotypic plasticity and rapid evolutionary responses to adapt to novel environmental conditions. Because of the lack of compelling evidence from natural populations, controversy remains about the interplay between ancestral plasticity and rapid evolution in driving responses to new stressors. We studied this at the level of metabolome in a resurrected natural population of the water flea Daphnia magna that underwent an increase followed by a reduction in predation pressure within ~16 years. Both the constitutive and plastic components of the metabolic profiles showed rapid adaptive evolution. Ancestral plasticity and evolution contributed nearly equally to the total changes of the metabolomes during both transitions. The metabolites with higher ancestral plasticity showed stronger evolution of plasticity when the predation pressure increased, while this pattern reversed when the predation pressure relaxed. Our results therefore highlight adaptive evolution in response to a new selection pressure in this natural population magnified the metabolomic plasticity to this stressor.