Sex, selfish genes, and the shared genome
Hawkes, Michael Francis
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Sexual conflict can occur whenever the evolutionary interests of males and females differ, and when sexually antagonistic selection acts upon traits shared between the sexes, one or both sexes can be constrained from reaching their phenotypic optima. This intralocus sexual conflict can be characterised by a tug-of-war of allelic replacement until it is resolved, but examples of well-characterised sexually antagonistic loci are rare. This thesis investigates the basis and dynamics of intralocus sexual conflict over insecticide resistance at the Cyp6g1 locus in Drosophila melanogaster, and wing colouration in Drosophila simulans. In D. melanogaster, the Cyp6g1 locus is the site of a series of insecticide resistance alleles, one of which is sexually antagonistic when back-crossed to the old isogenic lab strain Canton-S. I investigated the presence of sexual conflict over this same allele in a recently collected and genetically heterogeneous population. I found evidence of balancing selection on resistance (Ch. 2) that could not be explained by overdominance or sex-specific dominance (Ch. 3). However, balancing selection could be explained by resistance conferring increased fecundity to females (Ch. 2-4), and decreased reproductive success to males (Ch. 4). This male cost can in turn be explained by a negative genetic correlation between reproductive success and Cyp6g1 expression (Ch. 4), possibly influencing levels of reproductive investment (Ch. 2). Additionally, I explored the dynamics of the sex-specific fitness effects of resistance across three Cyp6g1 alleles back-crossed to a single genetic background. I found no evidence of sexual antagonism, but revealed that the cost of resistance increased with more derived alleles, and that all alleles were more costly to females (Ch. 5). After decades of strong selection imposed by insecticide use an unresolved sexual conflict persists at the Cyp6g1 locus despite sexual dimorphism in resistance, and it does not appear that more derived Cyp6g1 alleles are necessarily involved in mediating this conflict. Wing interference patterns (WIPs) are a newly discovered trait subject to female mate choice in Drosophila. I explored the potential for intralocus sexual conflict over WIPs by measuring WIP traits from males and females from populations of D. simulans evolved under relaxed or elevated sexual selection. In response to sexual selection male WIPs evolved to be brighter, higher contrast, and shifted to longer wavelengths of light, but there was no associated response to selection in females (Ch. 6). While WIPs did not appear to be constrained from detectably responding to selection by acute intralocus sexual conflict, male WIPs from the relaxed selection regime were similar to female WIPs, suggesting a cost to sexually selected WIPs that may be indicative of sexually antagonistic selection. IASC is pervasive and can influence a wide range of fundamental evolutionary processes including sexual selection, speciation, and extinction. The research presented in this thesis adds to a body of evidence that sexual dimorphism does not necessarily resolve IASC, and documents the first evidence that WIPs do not appear to be subject to acute IASC and can evolve in response to sexual selection.
Hawkes M. F., Gamble C. E., Turner E. C. R., Carey M. R., Wedell N., and Hosken D. J., Intralocus sexual conflict and insecticide resistance. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 283(1843). doi:10.1098/rspb.2016.1429
PhD Biological Sciences