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Equilibrium Analysis of Sexual Selection in Drosophila melanogaster

Gerald S. Wilkinson
Evolution
Vol. 41, No. 1 (Jan., 1987), pp. 11-21
DOI: 10.2307/2408969
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2408969
Page Count: 11
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Equilibrium Analysis of Sexual Selection in Drosophila melanogaster
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Abstract

Several models for sexual selection, both by male-male competition and female choice, predict that a character which covaries with mating success should be near an equilibrium where the intensity of sexual selection opposes viability selection. This prediction was used to design experiments for estimating the intensity of sexual and viability selection on wing length in a recently captured population of Drosophila melanogaster. Observations of matings by males color-marked for wing length indicated that the standardized sexual selection differential on wing length was 0.24 under a wide range of effective sex ratios. After estimating the heritability of wing length to be 0.62, the expected standardized response due to sexual selection was calculated as 0.15 (SE = 0.15). The response due to viability selection was then estimated by comparing wing lengths of progeny of flies that had been randomly mated, thereby preventing sexual selection, with progeny of flies that had been allowed to acquire mates in a mass-mating chamber. The results support an equilibrium model in that the standardized response due to viability selection (-0.31, SE = 0.08) was opposite in sign and similar in magnitude to the estimated response due to sexual selection. Observations of females orienting in front of males which differed in wing length indicated that the mating advantage accruing to long-winged males was not due to female choice. Instead, malemale competition in which the larger of two randomly chosen males succeeded in mating, explains the observed sexual selection. An experimental analysis of genotype-environment interaction revealed that larval density had a nonlinear effect on mean wing length within sibships. If a population is displaced from equilibrium, therefore, the evolutionary trajectory of mean wing length will depend both on the intensity of selection and the environment in which that selection is operating.

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