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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
October 28, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Tristan A.F. Long


email: Tristan A.F. Long
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Tristan A.F. Long

Quantifying the gender load: can population crosses reveal interlocus sexual conflict? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, Series B. 361: 363-374.

T.A.F. Long, R. Montgomerie and A. Chippindale

published: 2006 | Research publication | Tristan A.F Long

If interlocus sexual conflict drives the evolution of reproductive characters, then females are expected to be best-defended against (or least sensitive to) the specific manipulative traits of males in their breeding population. However, depending upon the nature of the coevolving signal-receiver system, crosses between different populations of the same species can theoretically lead to a negative or positive impact of foreign males on female fitness. Using a long-term, laboratory-evolved phylogeny of replicate Drosophila melanogaster populations, we show that intersexual coevolution is rapid and leads to interactions that strongly and directly influence female net fitness, mating, and sperm use patterns. The tendency (19/30 crosses) for foreign males to negatively influence female fitness may be interpreted as evidence for either sexually antagonistic coevolution or the disruption of mutualistically coevolved interactions. Rather, we suggest that instances in which female fitness was improved by mating with foreign males may better reveal the extent of sexual conflict, signaling release from the gender load established by antagonistic coevolution. Variation in both female mating rate and male post-copulatory fitness in response to matings between females and local versus foreign males also showed that populations had diverged in a manner consistent with interlocus sexual conflict.

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revised Dec 12/10

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