Sexual conflict and interacting phenotypes: A quantitative genetic analysis of fecundity and copula duration in Drosophila melanogaster

Dominic Edward, Jocelyn Poissant, Alastair Wilson, Tracey Chapman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Many reproductive traits that have evolved under sexual conflict may be influenced by both sexes. Investigation of the genetic architecture of such traits can yield important insight into their evolution, but this entails that the heritable component of variation is estimated for males and females—as an interacting phenotype. We address the lack of research in this area through an investigation of egg production and copula duration in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster. Despite egg production rate being determined by both sexes, which may cause sexual conflict, an assessment of this trait as an interacting phenotype is lacking. It is currently unclear whether copula duration is determined by males and/or females. We found significant female, but not male, genetic variance for egg production rate that may indicate reduced potential for ongoing sexually antagonistic coevolution. In contrast, copula duration was determined by significant genetic variance in both sexes. We also identified genetic variation in egg retention among virgin females. Although previously identified in wild populations, it is unclear why this should be present in a laboratory stock. This study provides a novel insight into the shared genetic architecture of reproductive traits that are the subject of sexual conflict.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1651–1660
Number of pages10
Issue number6
Early online date20 Mar 2014
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014


  • Heritability
  • sexual selection
  • mating systems
  • sexually antagonistic coevolution

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