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Sexual Size Dimorphism as a Correlated Response to Selection on Body Size: An Empirical Test of the Quantitative Genetic Model

Jeff P. Reeve and Daphne J. Fairbairn
Evolution
Vol. 50, No. 5 (Oct., 1996), pp. 1927-1938
DOI: 10.2307/2410751
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2410751
Page Count: 12
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Sexual Size Dimorphism as a Correlated Response to Selection on Body Size: An Empirical Test of the Quantitative Genetic Model
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Abstract

We artificially selected for body size in Drosophila melanogaster to test Lande's quantitative genetic model for the evolution of sexual size dimorphism. Thorax width was used as an estimator of body size. Selection was maintained for 21 generations in both directions on males only, females only, or both sexes simultaneously. The correlated response of sexual size dimorphism in each selection regime was compared to the response predicted by four variants of the model, each of which differed only in assumptions about input parameters. Body size responded well to selection, but the correlated response of sexual size dimorphism was weaker than that predicted by any of the variants. Dimorphism decreased in most selection lines, contrary to the model predictions. We suggest that selection on body size acts primarily on growth trajectories. Changes in dimorphism are caused by the fact that male and female growth trajectories are not parallel and termination of growth at different points along the curves results in dimorphism levels that are difficult to predict without detailed knowledge of growth parameters. This may also explain many of the inconsistent results in dimorphism changes seen in earlier selection experiments.

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