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Experimental evolution of a novel sexually antagonistic allele.

Dean, R; Perry, JC; Pizzari, T; Mank, JE; Wigby, S; (2012) Experimental evolution of a novel sexually antagonistic allele. PLoS Genet , 8 (8) , Article e1002917. 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002917. Green open access

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Abstract

Evolutionary conflict permeates biological systems. In sexually reproducing organisms, sex-specific optima mean that the same allele can have sexually antagonistic expression, i.e. beneficial in one sex and detrimental in the other, a phenomenon known as intralocus sexual conflict. Intralocus sexual conflict is emerging as a potentially fundamental factor for the genetic architecture of fitness, with important consequences for evolutionary processes. However, no study to date has directly experimentally tested the evolutionary fate of a sexually antagonistic allele. Using genetic constructs to manipulate female fecundity and male mating success, we engineered a novel sexually antagonistic allele (SAA) in Drosophila melanogaster. The SAA is nearly twice as costly to females as it is beneficial to males, but the harmful effects to females are recessive and X-linked, and thus are rarely expressed when SAA occurs at low frequency. We experimentally show how the evolutionary dynamics of the novel SAA are qualitatively consistent with the predictions of population genetic models: SAA frequency decreases when common, but increases when rare, converging toward an equilibrium frequency of ∼8%. Furthermore, we show that persistence of the SAA requires the mating advantage it provides to males: the SAA frequency declines towards extinction when the male advantage is experimentally abolished. Our results empirically demonstrate the dynamics underlying the evolutionary fate of a sexually antagonistic allele, validating a central assumption of intralocus sexual conflict theory: that variation in fitness-related traits within populations can be maintained via sex-linked sexually antagonistic loci.

Type: Article
Title: Experimental evolution of a novel sexually antagonistic allele.
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1002917
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1002917
Language: English
Additional information: © Dean et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Funding: This work was funded by awards from ASAB (http://asab.nottingham.ac.uk/), The Lloyds Tercentenary Foundation (http://www.lloyds.com/Lloyds/Corporate-R​esponsibility/Charity/Tercentenary-Resea​rch-Foundation), and the Wellcome Trust (http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/) to SW; from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (http://www.nserc-crsng.gc.ca/index_eng.a​sp) to JCP; from the BBSRC (http://www.bbsrc.ac.uk/) and ERC (http://erc.europa.eu/) (grant agreement 260233) to JEM; and from the Philip Leverhulme Prize (http://www.leverhulme.ac.uk/index.cfm) to TP. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Keywords: Alleles, Animals, Animals, Genetically Modified, Cost-Benefit Analysis, Directed Molecular Evolution, Drosophila melanogaster, Female, Fertility, Genetic Fitness, Male, Phenotype, Reproduction, Sex Characteristics, Sexual Behavior, Animal, X Chromosome
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1360080
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