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Proc Biol Sci. 2005 Oct 7;272(1576):2029-35.

Assessing putative interlocus sexual conflict in Drosophila melanogaster using experimental evolution.

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Department of Ecology, Evolution & Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9610, USA.


The theoretical foundation of sexually antagonistic coevolution is that females suffer a net fitness cost through their interactions with males. The empirical prediction is that direct costs to female lifetime fecundity will exceed indirect benefits despite a possible increase in the genetic quality of offspring. Although direct costs of males have been repeatedly shown, to date no study has comprehensively tested whether females are compensated for this direct harm through indirect benefits. Here we use experimental evolution to show that a mutation giving Drosophila melanogaster females nearly complete resistance to the direct costs of male courtship and remating, but which also excluded almost all indirect benefits, is strongly favoured by selection. We estimated the selection coefficient favouring the resistance allele to be +20%. These results demonstrate that any indirect benefits that females accrued were not sufficient to counter-balance the direct costs of males, and reinforce a large body of past studies by verifying interlocus sexual conflict in this model system.

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