Latitudinal clines provide natural systems that may allow the effect of natural selection on the genetic variance to be determined. Ten clinal populations of Drosophila serrata collected from the eastern coast of Australia were used to examine clinal patterns in the trait mean and genetic variance of the life-history trait egg-to-adult development time. Development time significantly lengthened from tropical areas to temperate areas. The additive genetic variance for development time in each population was not associated with latitude but was associated with the population mean development time. Additive genetic variance tended to be larger in populations with more extreme development times and appeared to be consistent with allele frequency change. In contrast, the nonadditive genetic variance was not associated with the population mean but was associated with latitude. Levels of nonadditive genetic variance were greatest in the region of the cline where the gradient in the change in mean was greatest, consistent with Barton's (1999) conjecture that the generation of linkage disequilibrium may become an important component of the genetic variance in systems with a spatially varying optimum.
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Vol. 57 • No. 8