I am interested in your proposal about lab populations of D.
pseudoobscura. I have a few suggestions to make since I have given a lot
of thought to this subject and previous experiments exploring it.
I believe pooling laboratory populations will be rather
counterproductive. Both the Powell-group and Ayala-group experiments
showed that unexpected shifts in premating sexual behavior accompanied the
the experimental bottlenecking of populations. In my review in J.
Heredity recently 1997:88, p. 345, I included a few paragraphs on this
subject.I believe the main change that occurs in laboratory populations is
behavioral adjustment of fitness, primarily mediated by sexual selection.
Novel adaptations to the ambient environment provided by standard lab
conditions are not very powerful factors for genetic change. I think the
evidence indicates that each lab stock develops its own peculiar
mate-choice system. Pooling a bunch of these is likely to result in
great confusion of mating system in early ensuing generations.
Recombination should soon free the population from this and perhaps a
super lab strain might come out of it. But how will you measure success?