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An experimental test for indirect benefits in Drosophila melanogaster.

Rundle HD, Odeen A, Mooers AØ - BMC Evol. Biol. (2007)

Bottom Line: Our results suggest that mating with successful males in this population provides an indirect benefit to females and that, at least in this environment, the benefit arises primarily through the production of more attractive male offspring.However, it is unclear whether this represents solely a traditional sexy sons benefit or whether there is an additional good genes component (with male offspring simply allocating their surplus condition to traits that enhance their mating success).Determining the effect of this indirect benefit on the evolution of female mate preferences (or resistance) will require comparable data on the direct costs of mating with various males, and an understanding of how these costs and benefits integrate across generations and vary among environments.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada. hrundle@uottawa.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: Despite much empirical attention, tests for indirect benefits of mate choice have rarely considered the major components of sexual and nonsexual offspring fitness relevant to a population. Here we use a novel experimental design to test for the existence of any indirect benefits in a laboratory adapted population of D. melanogaster. Our experiment compared the fitness (mating success, longevity, and productivity) of individuals possessing genomes that derived two generations previously from males that were either entirely successful (studs) or wholly unsuccessful (duds) at achieving mates in three subsequent rounds of mating trials.

Results: Males from the stud treatment were 30% more successful on average at securing mates than males from the dud treatment. In contrast, we found no difference between treatments in measures of productivity or of longevity when measured in a mixed-sex environment. In the absence of females, however, males in the stud treatment outlived males in the dud treatment.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that mating with successful males in this population provides an indirect benefit to females and that, at least in this environment, the benefit arises primarily through the production of more attractive male offspring. However, it is unclear whether this represents solely a traditional sexy sons benefit or whether there is an additional good genes component (with male offspring simply allocating their surplus condition to traits that enhance their mating success). The lack of any detectable differences in female fitness between the two treatments suggests the former, although the longevity advantage of males in the stud treatment when females were absent is consistent with the latter. Determining the effect of this indirect benefit on the evolution of female mate preferences (or resistance) will require comparable data on the direct costs of mating with various males, and an understanding of how these costs and benefits integrate across generations and vary among environments.

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Frequency distribution of the relative mating success of males from the stud vs dud treatments. Relative mating successes (proportion of mated males from the stud treatment/proportion of mated males from the dud treatment) were calculated separately for each of the 39 replicate mating cages. The vertical dotted line indicates the expectation under equal mating success. The mating success of males from the stud treatment is significantly greater than that of males from the dud treatment (p < 0.0001; see text).
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Figure 1: Frequency distribution of the relative mating success of males from the stud vs dud treatments. Relative mating successes (proportion of mated males from the stud treatment/proportion of mated males from the dud treatment) were calculated separately for each of the 39 replicate mating cages. The vertical dotted line indicates the expectation under equal mating success. The mating success of males from the stud treatment is significantly greater than that of males from the dud treatment (p < 0.0001; see text).

Mentions: The grandsons of stud males were, on average, 30% more successful at securing mates than were the grandsons of dud males (mean relative mating success of studs vs. duds ± SE: 1.30 ± 0.06; Fig. 1). Treating cages as replicates, this difference in mating success is highly significant (t38 = 5.16, p < 0.0001).


An experimental test for indirect benefits in Drosophila melanogaster.

Rundle HD, Odeen A, Mooers AØ - BMC Evol. Biol. (2007)

Frequency distribution of the relative mating success of males from the stud vs dud treatments. Relative mating successes (proportion of mated males from the stud treatment/proportion of mated males from the dud treatment) were calculated separately for each of the 39 replicate mating cages. The vertical dotted line indicates the expectation under equal mating success. The mating success of males from the stud treatment is significantly greater than that of males from the dud treatment (p < 0.0001; see text).
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC1828163&req=5

Figure 1: Frequency distribution of the relative mating success of males from the stud vs dud treatments. Relative mating successes (proportion of mated males from the stud treatment/proportion of mated males from the dud treatment) were calculated separately for each of the 39 replicate mating cages. The vertical dotted line indicates the expectation under equal mating success. The mating success of males from the stud treatment is significantly greater than that of males from the dud treatment (p < 0.0001; see text).
Mentions: The grandsons of stud males were, on average, 30% more successful at securing mates than were the grandsons of dud males (mean relative mating success of studs vs. duds ± SE: 1.30 ± 0.06; Fig. 1). Treating cages as replicates, this difference in mating success is highly significant (t38 = 5.16, p < 0.0001).

Bottom Line: Our results suggest that mating with successful males in this population provides an indirect benefit to females and that, at least in this environment, the benefit arises primarily through the production of more attractive male offspring.However, it is unclear whether this represents solely a traditional sexy sons benefit or whether there is an additional good genes component (with male offspring simply allocating their surplus condition to traits that enhance their mating success).Determining the effect of this indirect benefit on the evolution of female mate preferences (or resistance) will require comparable data on the direct costs of mating with various males, and an understanding of how these costs and benefits integrate across generations and vary among environments.

View Article: PubMed Central - HTML - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Biological Sciences, Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC, Canada. hrundle@uottawa.ca

ABSTRACT

Background: Despite much empirical attention, tests for indirect benefits of mate choice have rarely considered the major components of sexual and nonsexual offspring fitness relevant to a population. Here we use a novel experimental design to test for the existence of any indirect benefits in a laboratory adapted population of D. melanogaster. Our experiment compared the fitness (mating success, longevity, and productivity) of individuals possessing genomes that derived two generations previously from males that were either entirely successful (studs) or wholly unsuccessful (duds) at achieving mates in three subsequent rounds of mating trials.

Results: Males from the stud treatment were 30% more successful on average at securing mates than males from the dud treatment. In contrast, we found no difference between treatments in measures of productivity or of longevity when measured in a mixed-sex environment. In the absence of females, however, males in the stud treatment outlived males in the dud treatment.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that mating with successful males in this population provides an indirect benefit to females and that, at least in this environment, the benefit arises primarily through the production of more attractive male offspring. However, it is unclear whether this represents solely a traditional sexy sons benefit or whether there is an additional good genes component (with male offspring simply allocating their surplus condition to traits that enhance their mating success). The lack of any detectable differences in female fitness between the two treatments suggests the former, although the longevity advantage of males in the stud treatment when females were absent is consistent with the latter. Determining the effect of this indirect benefit on the evolution of female mate preferences (or resistance) will require comparable data on the direct costs of mating with various males, and an understanding of how these costs and benefits integrate across generations and vary among environments.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus