Plastic phenotypic responses to environmental change are common, yet we lack a clear understanding of the fitness consequences of these plastic responses. Here, we use the evolution of herbicide resistance in the common morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea) as a model for understanding the relative importance of adaptive and maladaptive gene expression responses to herbicide. Specifically, we compare leaf gene expression changes caused by herbicide to the expression changes that evolve in response to artificial selection for herbicide resistance. We identify a number of genes that show plastic and evolved responses to herbicide and find that for the majority of genes with both plastic and evolved responses, plastic responses appear to be adaptive. We also find that selection for herbicide response increases gene expression plasticity. Overall, these results show the importance of adaptive plasticity for herbicide resistance in a common weed and that expression changes in response to strong environmental change can be adaptive.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics