Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

When hooking up with opposite sex, genital complexities do matter, fruit fly research finds

Date:
January 9, 2010
Source:
University of Cincinnati
Summary:
Charles Darwin spent eight years studying barnacles and their genitalia. In much less time than that, modern-day evolutionary biologists have confirmed one of Darwin's theories: that genitalia complexities in some male species have developed because they assist the male in "holding her securely."

This image has been magnified to show an ablated spine and an intact spine.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of Cincinnati

Charles Darwin spent eight years studying barnacles and their genitalia. In much less time than that, University of Cincinnati evolutionary biologist Michal Polak (and co-author Arash Rashed, now at the University of California, Berkeley) have confirmed one of Darwin's theories: that genitalia complexities in some male species have developed because they assist the male in "holding her securely."

As just published online in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, "Microscale Laser Surgery Reveals Adaptive Function of Male Intromittent Genitalia" Polak's research showed that without a doubt among the fruit fly species Drosophila bipectinata Duda, the males' penile peculiarities assisted them in copulation.

Polak, an associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in McMicken College of Arts and Sciences at UC, used a laser ablation technique to cut off tiny "intromittent" spines on the genitalia of virgin male D. bipectinata Duda fruit flies.

"We refer to these genital spines as intromittent because they insert [them] into female external genitalia during copulation, and not because they insert into the reproductive tract," Polak and Rashed explain in their paper.

Polak's study concluded that the male genital spines serve two functions. When the spines were removed, the males experienced drastic reductions in ability to copulate and ability to compete against rival males for mates. However, if the males were able to copulate, they found that insemination and fertilization rates were not significantly different.

They're not done yet, says Polak.

"We are using the laser for a variety of projects, including to surgically excise other genital traits and the tiny but elaborate male sex 'combs' used in courtship, and to study their adaptive function in sexual selection."

This research was partially supported by National Science Foundation (NSF) USA (grant DEB-0345990).


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Michal Polak, Arash Rashed. Microscale laser surgery reveals adaptive function of male intromittent genitalia. Proceedings of The Royal Society B Biological Sciences, 2010; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.1720

Cite This Page:

University of Cincinnati. "When hooking up with opposite sex, genital complexities do matter, fruit fly research finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 January 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107132555.htm>.
University of Cincinnati. (2010, January 9). When hooking up with opposite sex, genital complexities do matter, fruit fly research finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107132555.htm
University of Cincinnati. "When hooking up with opposite sex, genital complexities do matter, fruit fly research finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/01/100107132555.htm (accessed April 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, April 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

Deadly Fungus Killing Bats, Spreading in US

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A disease that has killed more than six million cave-dwelling bats in the United States is on the move and wildlife biologists are worried. White Nose Syndrome, discovered in New York in 2006, has now spread to 25 states. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Blood From World's Oldest Woman Suggests Life Limit

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) Scientists say for the extremely elderly, their stem cells might reach a state of exhaustion. This could limit one's life span. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

Raw: Kangaroo Rescued from Swimming Pool

AP (Apr. 24, 2014) A kangaroo was saved from drowning in a backyard suburban swimming pool in Australia's Victoria state on Thursday. Australian broadcaster Channel 7 showed footage of the kangaroo struggling to get out of the pool. (April 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Could Marijuana Use Lead To Serious Heart Problems?

Newsy (Apr. 24, 2014) A new study says marijuana use could lead to serious heart-related complications. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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