By employing experimental evolution to study the effects of mating within and between different insect populations, researchers have gained insight into the ways in which sexual selection can affect fitness and influence various aspects of evolutionary change.
As a consequence of investigating the short-term fitness consequences of mate choice, researchers had largely come to believe that sexual selection is beneficial. However, conflicts between the sexes are ubiquitous and could erode fitness. Although sexual conflict is widespread, its evolutionary consequences remain largely unknown.
In the new study, which broadens our understanding of sexual selection and sexual conflict, Oliver Martin and David Hosken from the University of Zürich subjected flies to experimental evolution for 44 generations and looked at the fitness consequences of evolving under high, low, or relaxed sexual conflict. Their results indicate that foreign males from the conflict populations are more costly to females than familiar males and that sexual selection can be costly to fitness. However, they also found that at intermediate levels of sexual conflict, benefits of sexual selection may outweigh these costs.
Heidi Hardman | EurekAlert!
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The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.
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