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How multivariate ejaculate traits determine competitive fertilization success in Drosophila melanogaster


Lüpold, Stefan; Manier, Mollie K; Berben, Kirstin S; Smith, Kyle J; Daley, Bryan D; Buckley, Shannon H; Belote, John M; Pitnick, Scott (2012). How multivariate ejaculate traits determine competitive fertilization success in Drosophila melanogaster. Current Biology, 22(18):1667-1672.

Abstract

Success in sperm competition, occurring whenever females mate with multiple males, is predicted to be influenced by variation in ejaculate quality and interactions among competing sperm. Yet, apart from sperm number, relevant ejaculate characteristics and sperm-sperm interactions are poorly understood, particularly within a multivariate framework and the natural selective environment of the female reproductive tract. Here, we used isogenic lines of Drosophila melanogaster with distinguishable sperm to demonstrate and partition genetic variation in multiple sperm quality and performance traits. Next, by competing males from different lines, we show how rival sperm significantly influence each other's velocity and reveal that males with relatively slow and/or long sperm better displace rival sperm and resist displacement, thus avoiding ejection by the female from her reproductive tract. Finally, we establish fitness consequences of genetic variation in sperm quality and its role in securing a numerical advantage in storage by showing that offspring paternity is determined strictly by the representation of stored, competing sperm. These results provide novel insight into complex postcopulatory processes, illustrate that different ejaculate traits are critical at different biologically relevant time-points, and provide a critical foundation for elucidating the role of postcopulatory sexual selection in trait diversification and speciation.

Abstract

Success in sperm competition, occurring whenever females mate with multiple males, is predicted to be influenced by variation in ejaculate quality and interactions among competing sperm. Yet, apart from sperm number, relevant ejaculate characteristics and sperm-sperm interactions are poorly understood, particularly within a multivariate framework and the natural selective environment of the female reproductive tract. Here, we used isogenic lines of Drosophila melanogaster with distinguishable sperm to demonstrate and partition genetic variation in multiple sperm quality and performance traits. Next, by competing males from different lines, we show how rival sperm significantly influence each other's velocity and reveal that males with relatively slow and/or long sperm better displace rival sperm and resist displacement, thus avoiding ejection by the female from her reproductive tract. Finally, we establish fitness consequences of genetic variation in sperm quality and its role in securing a numerical advantage in storage by showing that offspring paternity is determined strictly by the representation of stored, competing sperm. These results provide novel insight into complex postcopulatory processes, illustrate that different ejaculate traits are critical at different biologically relevant time-points, and provide a critical foundation for elucidating the role of postcopulatory sexual selection in trait diversification and speciation.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Animals; Drosophila melanogaster; Drosophila melanogaster: genetics; Drosophila melanogaster: physiology; Female; Fertilization; Fertilization: genetics; Genetic Variation; Genetically Modified; Male; Sperm Capacitation; Sperm Count; Sperm Motility; Sperm-Ovum Interactions; Spermatozoa; Spermatozoa: physiology
Language:English
Date:25 September 2012
Deposited On:28 Oct 2015 13:41
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:27
Publisher:Cell Press (Elsevier)
ISSN:0960-9822
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2012.06.059
PubMed ID:22840512

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