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Genetic and environmental sources of covariance among internal reproductive traits in the yellow dung fly


Thueler, K; Bussière, Luc F; Postma, E; Ward, Paul I; Blanckenhorn, Wolf U (2011). Genetic and environmental sources of covariance among internal reproductive traits in the yellow dung fly. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 24(7):1477-1486.

Abstract

Substantial inter- and intraspecific variation is found in reproductive traits, but the evolutionary implications of this variation remain unclear. One hypothesis is that natural selection favours female reproductive morphology that allows females to control mating and fertilization and that diverse male reproductive traits arise as counter adaptations to subvert this control. Such co-evolution predicts the establishment of genetic correlations between male and female reproductive traits that closely interact during mating. Therefore, we measured phenotypic and genetic correlations between male and female reproductive tract characteristics in the yellow dung fly, Scathophaga stercoraria (Diptera: Scathophagidae), using a nested half-sib breeding experiment. We found significant heritabilities for the size of most reproductive tract traits investigated in both females (spermathecae and their ducts, accessory glands and their ducts) and males (testis size but not sperm length). Within the sexes, phenotypic and genetic correlations were mostly nil or positive, suggesting functional integration of or condition-dependent investment in internal reproductive traits. Negative intrasexual genetic correlations, potentially suggestive of resource allocation trade-offs, were not evident. Intersexual genetic correlations were mostly positive, reflecting expected allometries between male and female morphologies. Most interestingly, testis size correlated positively with female accessory gland size and duct length, potentially indicative of a co-evolutionary arms race. We discuss these and alternative explanations for these patterns of genetic covariance.

Abstract

Substantial inter- and intraspecific variation is found in reproductive traits, but the evolutionary implications of this variation remain unclear. One hypothesis is that natural selection favours female reproductive morphology that allows females to control mating and fertilization and that diverse male reproductive traits arise as counter adaptations to subvert this control. Such co-evolution predicts the establishment of genetic correlations between male and female reproductive traits that closely interact during mating. Therefore, we measured phenotypic and genetic correlations between male and female reproductive tract characteristics in the yellow dung fly, Scathophaga stercoraria (Diptera: Scathophagidae), using a nested half-sib breeding experiment. We found significant heritabilities for the size of most reproductive tract traits investigated in both females (spermathecae and their ducts, accessory glands and their ducts) and males (testis size but not sperm length). Within the sexes, phenotypic and genetic correlations were mostly nil or positive, suggesting functional integration of or condition-dependent investment in internal reproductive traits. Negative intrasexual genetic correlations, potentially suggestive of resource allocation trade-offs, were not evident. Intersexual genetic correlations were mostly positive, reflecting expected allometries between male and female morphologies. Most interestingly, testis size correlated positively with female accessory gland size and duct length, potentially indicative of a co-evolutionary arms race. We discuss these and alternative explanations for these patterns of genetic covariance.

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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)
Language:English
Date:2011
Deposited On:18 Nov 2011 12:42
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 09:44
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.
ISSN:1010-061X
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02280.x
Other Identification Number:ISI:000292698700009

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