Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Sexual Conflict Resolution? Mating Frequency And Fitness In Fruit Flies

Date:
January 7, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
In the gene's eye view, female mating frequency is difficult to understand. A substantial body of evidence, taken throughout the animal kingdom, demonstrates that females mate frequently, even when bouts of mating decrease offspring production. This finding is counterintuitive because we would expect natural selection to remove mating behaviors which decrease fitness. However, new research suggests that frequent mating females receive fitness benefits from an unexpected source: their daughters.

In the gene's eye view, female mating frequency is difficult to understand. A substantial body of evidence, taken throughout the animal kingdom, demonstrates that females mate frequently, even when bouts of mating decrease offspring production.

Related Articles


This finding is counterintuitive because we would expect natural selection to remove mating behaviors which decrease fitness. However, new research suggests that frequent mating females receive fitness benefits from an unexpected source: their daughters.

Evolutionary Biologists from the University of Virginia -- Nick Priest, Laura Galloway and Deborah Roach -- manipulated the mating frequency of female fruit flies, Drosophila melanogaster, and observed how mating frequency affected the lifetime reproductive output of those females and their daughters.

They found that frequent mating decreased maternal survival and reproductive output, but increased the reproductive output of daughters.

"Frequent mating was more hazardous to females than we had suspected," explains Priest, who conducted the study as part of his doctoral research. "Increased mating frequency actually accelerated the female aging process.

But, the daughters of frequent mating mothers had enhanced offspring production." Are the benefits to daughters enough to recoup the costs of mating?

The authors evaluated their data using a model of inclusive fitness which considered the multi-generation costs and benefits of frequent mating. They found that costs to mothers were balanced by benefits to daughters such that frequency mating was neither detrimental nor beneficial.

This finding indicates that cross-generational fitness effects may play an important role in evolution of mating frequency in the fruit fly and may have a more general role in life history evolution.

That this phenomenon was discovered in the fruit fly is surprising. The fruit fly is often hailed as an example of sexual conflict, in part because males and females appeared to have conflicting optimal mating frequencies.

But, the work of Priest and colleagues shows that the genes which determine mating frequency in females might actually spread faster, despite direct costs to females, when their effects are considered over multiple generations. "Sexual conflict might still have an important role in the evolution of mating behavior," states Priest. "But, clearly, we have to consider the fitness consequences of mating over more than one generation. Males and females are not in conflict with respect to mating frequency, as they both appear to benefit from frequent mating."

The study, "Mating frequency and inclusive fitness in Drosophila melanogaster" authored by Nicholas K. Priest (University of Virginia and Indiana University), Laura F. Galloway (University of Virginia), and Deborah A. Roach (University of Virginia) was published in the January issue of the American Naturalist.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Sexual Conflict Resolution? Mating Frequency And Fitness In Fruit Flies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080104174025.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, January 7). Sexual Conflict Resolution? Mating Frequency And Fitness In Fruit Flies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080104174025.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Sexual Conflict Resolution? Mating Frequency And Fitness In Fruit Flies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080104174025.htm (accessed November 29, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

Research on Bats Could Help Develop Drugs Against Ebola

AFP (Nov. 28, 2014) In Africa's only biosafety level 4 laboratory, scientists have been carrying out experiments on bats to understand how virus like Ebola are being transmitted, and how some of them resist to it. Duration: 01:18 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

New Dinosaur Species Found in Museum Collection

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 27, 2014) A British palaeontologist has discovered a new species of dinosaur while studying fossils in a Canadian museum. Pentaceratops aquilonius was related to Triceratops and lived at the end of the Cretaceous Period, around 75 million years ago. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Tryptophan Isn't Making You Sleepy On Thanksgiving

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) Tryptophan, a chemical found naturally in turkey meat, gets blamed for sleepiness after Thanksgiving meals. But science points to other culprits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins