Fast eggs / Slow eggs

Fast eggs / Slow eggs

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Selection for Fast and Slow eggs

Our previous work showed that while flour beetle eggs have an amazing immune response already in the egg, the eggs of the fruit fly and the burying beetle do not seem very capable of fighting infection. We hypothesize that this is due to limitations of the eggs. We think that insect eggs cannot be well protected AND fast. The eggs of the fruit fly and the burying beetle develop very fast, but are not well protected. The eggs of the flour beetle are slower but better protected. Although we could search for different insects that have either fast or slow developing eggs, the ultimate proof of our hypothesis is a selection experiment. An experiment that we initiated some time ago aims to create lines of the same species, the red flour beetle, that have either slow eggs or fast eggs. In order to make the project feasible, we (with some fatherly help), created a selection machine. You can read some older results here

At the time of writing we are setting up generation 12 for the slow lines and generation 14 for the fast lines. Yes, the slow lines are already slower! In the picture above you can see how long the fast eggs of generation 9 take to develop (in red), how long not-selected eggs of generation 9 take (in green) and how long the slow eggs of generation 9 take (in blue). Currently the difference between fast and slow eggs is on average already more than 1 day, which is quite a lot compared to a total time taken of 6 days. As soon as you become a supporter of Science Explained, you will have access to exciting updates about this project!

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