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Proc Biol Sci. 2015 Aug 22;282(1813):20151417. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1417.

Does kin selection moderate sexual conflict in Drosophila?

Author information

1
Department of Biology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6 chippind@queensu.ca.
2
Department of Biology, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6.

Abstract

Two recent studies provide provocative experimental findings about the potential influence of kin recognition and cooperation on the level of sexual conflict in Drosophila melanogaster. In both studies, male fruit flies apparently curbed their mate-harming behaviours in the presence of a few familiar or related males, suggesting some form of cooperation mediated by kin selection. In one study, the reduction in agonistic behaviour by brothers apparently rendered them vulnerable to dramatic loss of paternity share when competing with an unrelated male. If these results are robust and generalizable, fruit flies could be a major new focus for the experimental study of kin selection and social evolution. In our opinion, however, the restrictive conditions required for male cooperation to be adaptive in this species make it unlikely to evolve. We investigated these phenomena in two different populations of D. melanogaster using protocols very similar to those in the two previous studies. Our experiments show no evidence for a reduction in mate harm based upon either relatedness or familiarity between males, and no reduction in male reproductive success when two brothers are in the presence of an unfamiliar, unrelated, 'foreign' male. Thus, the reduction of sexual conflict owing to male cooperation does not appear to be a general feature of the species, at least under domestication, and these contrasting results call for further investigation: in new populations, in the field and in the laboratory populations in which these phenomena have been reported.

KEYWORDS:

Drosophila; cooperation; familiarity; kin selection; mate harm; sexual conflict

PMID:
26269501
PMCID:
PMC4632634
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2015.1417
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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