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Does reproductive isolation evolve faster in larger populations via sexually antagonistic coevolution?

By L. Gay, P. E Eady, R. Vasudev, D. J. Hosken and T. Tregenza


Sexual conflict over reproductive investment can\ud lead to sexually antagonistic coevolution and\ud reproductive isolation. It has been suggested that,\ud unlike most models of allopatric speciation, the\ud evolution of reproductive isolation through sexually\ud antagonistic coevolution will occur faster\ud in large populations as these harbour greater\ud levels of standing genetic variation, receive larger\ud numbers of mutations and experience more\ud intense sexual selection. We tested this in bruchid\ud beetle populations (Callosobruchus maculatus)\ud by manipulating population size and standing\ud genetic variability in replicated lines derived from\ud founders that had been released from sexual\ud conflict for 90 generations. We found that after 19\ud generations of reintroduced sexual conflict, none\ud of our treatments had evolved significant overall\ud reproductive isolation among replicate lines.\ud However, as predicted, measures of reproductive\ud isolation tended to be greater among larger populations.\ud We discuss our methodology, arguing\ud that reproductive isolation is best examined by\ud performing a matrix of allopatric and sympatric\ud crosses whereas measurement of divergence\ud requires crosses with a tester line

Topics: C142 Reproductive Biology, C182 Evolution, C100 Biology
Publisher: Royal Society
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1098/rsbl.2009.0072
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