No intra-locus sexual conflict over reproductive fitness or ageing in field crickets.
Differences in the ways in which males and females maximize evolutionary fitness can lead to intra-locus sexual conflict in which genes delivering fitness benefits to one sex are costly when expressed in the other. Trade-offs between current reproductive effort and future reproduction and survival are fundamental to the evolutionary biology of ageing. This leads to the prediction that sex differences in the optimization of age-dependent reproductive effort may generate intra-locus sexual conflict over ageing rates. Here we test for intra-locus sexual conflict over age-dependent reproductive effort and longevity in the black field cricket, Teleogryllus commodus. Using a half-sib breeding design, we show that the most important components of male and female reproductive effort (male calling effort and the number of eggs laid by females) were positively genetically correlated, especially in early adulthood. However, the genetic relationships between longevity and reproductive effort were different for males and females, leading to low genetic covariation between male and female longevity. The apparent absence of intra-locus sexual conflict over ageing suggests that male and female longevity can evolve largely independently of one another. (+info)
Quantifying organismal complexity using a population genetic approach.
BACKGROUND: Various definitions of biological complexity have been proposed: the number of genes, cell types, or metabolic processes within an organism. As knowledge of biological systems has increased, it has become apparent that these metrics are often incongruent. METHODOLOGY: Here we propose an alternative complexity metric based on the number of genetically uncorrelated phenotypic traits contributing to an organism's fitness. This metric, phenotypic complexity, is more objective than previous suggestions, as complexity is measured from a fundamental biological perspective, that of natural selection. We utilize a model linking the equilibrium fitness (drift load) of a population to phenotypic complexity. We then use results from viral evolution experiments to compare the phenotypic complexities of two viruses, the bacteriophage X174 and vesicular stomatitis virus, and to illustrate the consistency of our approach and its applicability. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Because Darwinian evolution through natural selection is the fundamental element unifying all biological organisms, we propose that our metric of complexity is potentially a more relevant metric than others, based on the count of artificially defined set of objects. (+info)
Wrinkly-Spreader fitness in the two-dimensional agar plate microcosm: maladaptation, compensation and ecological success.
Bacterial adaptation to new environments often leads to the establishment of new genotypes with significantly altered phenotypes. In the Wrinkly Spreader (WS), ecological success in static liquid microcosms was through the rapid colonisation of the air-liquid interface by the production of a cellulose-based biofilm. Rapid surface spreading was also seen on agar plates, but in this two-dimensional environment the WS appears maladapted and rapidly reverts to the ancestral smooth (SM)-like colony genotype. In this work, the fitness of WS relative to SM in mixed colonies was found to be low, confirming the WS instability on agar plates. By examining defined WS mutants, the maladaptive characteristic was found to be the expression of cellulose. SM-like revertants had a higher growth rate than WS and no longer expressed significant amounts of cellulose, further confirming that the expression of this high-cost polymer was the basis of maladaptation and the target of compensatory mutation in developing colonies. However, examination of the fate of WS-founded populations in either multiple-colony or single mega-colony agar plate microcosms demonstrated that the loss of WS lineages could be reduced under conditions in which the rapid spreading colony phenotype could dominate nutrient and oxygen access more effectively than competing SM/SM-like genotypes. WS-like isolates recovered from such populations showed increased WS phenotype stability as well as changes in the degree of colony spreading, confirming that the WS was adapting to the two-dimensional agar plate microcosm. (+info)
The intersexual genetic correlation for lifetime fitness in the wild and its implications for sexual selection.
BACKGROUND: The genetic benefits of mate choice are limited by the degree to which male and female fitness are genetically correlated. If the intersexual correlation for fitness is small or negative, choosing a highly fit mate does not necessarily result in high fitness offspring. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDING: Using an animal-model approach on data from a pedigreed population of over 7,000 collared flycatchers (Ficedula albicollis), we estimate the intersexual genetic correlation in Lifetime Reproductive Success (LRS) in a natural population to be negative in sign (-0.85+/-0.6). Simulations show this estimate to be robust in sign to the effects of extra-pair parentage. The genetic benefits in this population are further limited by a low level of genetic variation for fitness in males. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The potential for indirect sexual selection is nullified by sexual antagonistic fitness effects in this natural population. Our findings and the scarce evidence from other studies suggest that the intersexual genetic correlation for lifetime fitness may be very low in nature. We argue that this form of conflict can, in general, both constrain and maintain sexual selection, depending on the sex-specific additive genetic variances in lifetime fitness. (+info)
The action of purifying selection, mutation and drift on fitness epistatic systems.