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Parasitoids are the most important natural enemies of many insect species. Larvae of many Drosophila species can defend themselves against attack by parasitoids through a cellular immune response called encapsulation. The paper reviews recent studies of the evolutionary biology and ecological genetics of resistance in Drosophila, concentrating on D. melanogaster. The physiological basis of encapsulation, and the genes known to interfere with resistance are briefly summarized. Evidence for within- and between-population genetic variation in resistance from isofemale line, artificial selection and classical genetic studies are reviewed. There is now firm evidence that resistance is costly to Drosophila, and the nature of this cost is discussed, and the possibility that it may involve a reduction in metabolic rate considered. Comparative data on encapsulation and metabolic rates across seven Drosophila species provides support for this hypothesis. Finally, the possible population and community ecological consequences of evolution in the levels of host resistance are examined.


Journal article


Heredity (Edinb)

Publication Date



84 ( Pt 1)


1 - 8


Animals, Biological Evolution, Drosophila, Ecology, Genetics, Population