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The evolutionary significance of reproductive traits in Drosophila melanogaster

Bangham, Jennifer; (2003) The evolutionary significance of reproductive traits in Drosophila melanogaster. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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As Darwin himself recognised, reproductive success is affected by events that happen both before and after mating. In Drosophila melanogaster, proteins produced in the male accessory glands (Acps) are passed to females during mating and strongly influence male post-mating success by affecting sperm transfer, storage, displacement, female oviposition rate and sexual receptivity. The first experiment described in this thesis demonstrates a correlation between male accessory gland size and mating propensity. This suggests that males with large accessory glands have greater Acp resources to achieve high post-mating success for a greater number of successive matings than males with small accessory glands. In addition, a correlation was found between male size and sperm displacement ability, raising the possibility that larger males can pass Acps to females more rapidly than can smaller males. Females too can influence male post-mating success; genetic variation between D. melanogaster females is correlated with variation in the sperm precedence achieved by males mated to those females. This thesis describes a correlation between variation in female sperm storage organ morphology and the temporal pattem of offspring production by females, and this temporal pattern could influence the outcome of sperm competition. Some Acps induce post-mating changes in females that reduce the opportunity for other males to compete for fertilisations. I confirm that the Acp sex-peptide is required for the full reduction of female receptivity and elevation of oviposition that follows a normal mating. At least one Acp is detrimental to female fitness, and is of special interest in the light of recent research suggesting a role for sexual conflict in the evolution of the D. melanogaster mating system. However, I find no evidence that a candidate protein, Acp62F, is responsible for this cost. I discuss current and future directions for investigating the influence of sexual conflict on the D. melanogaster mating system.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: The evolutionary significance of reproductive traits in Drosophila melanogaster
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Biological sciences; Reproductive success
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10102511
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