Article: article from journal or magazin.
Evolution of reduced post-copulatory molecular interactions in Drosophila populations lacking sperm competition.
Journal of Evolutionary Biology
In many species with internal fertilization, molecules transferred in the male ejaculate trigger and interact with physiological changes in females. It is controversial to what extent these interactions between the sexes act synergistically to mediate the female switch to a reproductive state or instead reflect sexual antagonism evolved as a by product of sexual selection on males. To address this question, we eliminated sexual selection by enforcing monogamy in populations of Drosophila melanogaster for 65 generations and then measured the expression of male seminal fluid protein genes and genes involved in the female response to mating. In the absence of sperm competition, male and female reproductive interests are perfectly aligned and any antagonism should be reduced by natural selection. Consistent with this idea, males from monogamous populations showed reduced expression of seminal fluid protein genes, 16% less on average than in polygamous males. Further, we identified 428 genes that responded to mating in females. After mating, females with an evolutionary history of monogamy exhibited lower relative expression of genes that were up regulated in response to mating and higher expression of genes that were down-regulated - in other words, their post-mating transcriptome appeared more virgin-like. Surprisingly, these genes showed a similar pattern even before mating, suggesting that monogamous females evolved to be less poised for mating and the accompanying receipt of male seminal fluid proteins. This reduced investment by both monogamous males and females in molecules involved in post-copulatory interactions points to a pervasive role of sexual conflict in shaping these interactions.
Drosophila, experimental evolution, female post-mating response, gene expression, sexual conflict, sexual selection
Web of science
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