1. The growth of a number of inbred lines from the Pacific cage population have been compared under different conditions of temperature and nutrition. Body size and duration of the larval period were taken as measures of performance. Sub-optimal diets were provided by growing larvae on chemically defined synthetic media.
2. Gene-environment interaction is widespread and often very great. The phenotypic effects of inbreeding on body size, even on a live yeast medium, may be greatly influenced by temperature. In one set of comparisons, inbred lines averaged 20% smaller at 25° C. but only 3% smaller at 18° C.
3. Sub-optimal diets of different chemical composition, which lead to about the same average decline in body size, may differ greatly in the level of heterogeneity of response among the same set of inbred lines. Thus much greater heterogeneity was found on diets deficient in RNA than on diets with low protein levels. Such information is a useful guide to further study of gene-environment interaction in the outbred population.
4. Diets which lead to a decline in body size of flies of the foundation population do not necessarily cause greater proportional decline on the part of inbred lines. Individual lines have been encountered in which body size is quite unaffected by changes in diet which reduce the size of the outbred flies by 25% or more.
5. A series of crosses between lines from the same foundation population showed a striking level of homeostasis. The average body size and development time of the F1's was close to that of the population of flies on the favourable and two alternative sub-optimal diets. Also, compared with the parent lines, there was little evidence of gene-environment interaction among the crosses.