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paco.garcia[at]ebd.csic.es

Sexual selection

Publications filtered by: Sexual selection

Good genes and sexual selection in dung beetles (Onthophagus taurus): Genetic variance in egg-to-adult and adult viability
Garcia-Gonzalez, F. & Simmons, L. W. 2011 Good genes and sexual selection in dung beetles (Onthophagus taurus): Genetic variance in egg-to-adult and adult viability PLoS ONE, 6:e16233
Abstract
Whether species exhibit significant heritable variation in fitness is central for sexual selection. According to good genes models there must be genetic variation in males leading to variation in offspring fitness if females are to obtain genetic benefits from exercising mate preferences, or by mating multiply. However, sexual selection based on genetic benefits is controversial, and there is limited unambiguous support for the notion that choosy or polyandrous females can increase the chances of producing offspring with high viability. Here we examine the levels of additive genetic variance in two fitness components in the dung beetle Onthophagus taurus. We found significant sire effects on egg-to-adult viability and on son, but not daughter, survival to sexual maturity, as well as moderate coefficients of additive variance in these traits. Moreover, we do not find evidence for sexual antagonism influencing genetic variation for fitness. Our results are consistent with good genes sexual selection, and suggest that both pre- and postcopulatory mate choice, and male competition could provide indirect benefits to females.
Seen one seen them all? More to genitalia than meets the eye
Simmons, L. W. & Garcia-Gonzalez, F. 2011 Seen one seen them all? More to genitalia than meets the eye The Conversation
Experimental evolution: life in the fast line
Garcia-Gonzalez, F. & Simmons, L. W. 2011 Experimental evolution: life in the fast line The Conversation
Male-induced costs of mating for females compensated by offspring viability benefits in an insect
Garcia-Gonzalez, F. & Simmons, L. W. 2010 Male-induced costs of mating for females compensated by offspring viability benefits in an insect Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 23: 2066-2075
Abstract
Sexual conflict facilitates the evolution of traits that increase the reproductive success of males at the expense of components of female fitness. Theory suggests that indirect benefits are unlikely to offset the direct costs to females from antagonistic male adaptations, but empirical studies examining the net fitness pay-offs of the interaction between the sexes are scarce. Here, we investigate whether matings with males that invest intrinsically more into accessory gland tissue undermine female lifetime reproductive success (LRS) in the cricket Teleogryllus oceanicus. We found that females incur a longevity cost of mating that is proportional to the partner’s absolute investment into the production of accessory gland products. However, male accessory gland weight positively influences embryo survival, and harmful ejaculate-induced effects are cancelled out when these are put in the context of female LRS. The direct costs of mating with males that sire offspring with higher viability are thus compensated by direct and possibly indirect genetic benefits in this species.
Linking sperm length and velocity: the importance of intramale variation
Fitzpatrick, J. L., Garcia-Gonzalez, F. & Evans, J. P. 2010 Linking sperm length and velocity: the importance of intramale variation Biology Letters, 6: 797-799
Abstract
Selection imposed through sperm competition is commonly thought to promote the evolution of longer sperm, since sperm length is assumed to be positively associated with sperm swimming velocity. Yet, the basis for this assumption remains controversial, and there is surprisingly little intraspecific evidence demonstrating such a link between sperm form and function. Here, we show that sperm length and velocity are highly correlated in the sea urchin Heliocidaris erythrogramma, but importantly we report that failure to account for within-male variation in these sperm traits can obscure this relationship. These findings, in conjunction with the mounting evidence for extremely high levels of intraspecific variance in sperm traits, suggest that a functional link between sperm morphology and velocity may be more prevalent than what current evidence suggests. Our findings also suggest that selection for faster swimming sperm may promote the evolution of longer sperm, thereby supporting recent findings from macroevolutionary studies.
Evolutionary response to sexual selection in male genital morphology
Simmons, L. W., House, C. M., Hunt, J. & Garcia-Gonzalez, F. 2009 Evolutionary response to sexual selection in male genital morphology Current Biology, 19: 1442-1446
Abstract

Male genital morphology is characterized by two striking and general patterns of morphological variation: rapid evolutionary divergence in shape and complexity, and relatively low scaling relationships with body size. These patterns of variation have been ascribed to the action of sexual selection. Among species, monogamous taxa tend to have relatively less complex male genital morphology than do polygamous taxa. However, although variation in male genital morphology can be associated with variation in mating and fertilization success, there is no direct evidence that sexual selection generates the evolutionary changes in male genital shape that underlie observed macroevolutionary patterns. Moreover, the hypothesis that sexual selection acts to reduce the scaling relationship between body and genital size is based entirely on the theoretical argument that male genitalia should be selected to provide an appropriate mechanical and/or stimulatory fit to the most commonly encountered female genitalia. Here, using the dung beetle Onthophagus taurus, we combine the power of experimental evolution with multivariate selection and quantitative genetic analyses to provide the most comprehensive evidence available of the form and evolutionary consequences of sexual selection acting on male genital morphology.

Evolución en acción: estudios de evolución experimental en el contexto de la selección sexual. In: Dopazo, H. and Navarro, A. (Eds). Adaptación y Evolución. 150 años después del Origen de las Especies.
Garcia-Gonzalez, F. 2009 Evolución en acción: estudios de evolución experimental en el contexto de la selección sexual. In: Dopazo, H. and Navarro, A. (Eds). Adaptación y Evolución. 150 años después del Origen de las Especies Sociedad Española de Biología Evolutiva-Obrapropia S. L., Valencia.
Abstract

Los estudios de evolución experimental constituyen una herramienta de extrema utilidad para comprender los procesos evolutivos a nivel intra-específico. Este artículo expone, a grandes rasgos, en qué consiste la evolución experimental y qué información ofrece. Se resalta el caso particular de estudios que utilizan esta aproximación metodológica para avanzar en el conocimiento de la selección sexual y de sus consecuencias evolutivas. Se muestra con algunos ejemplos cómo los estudios de evolución experimental contribuyen de manera significativa a mejorar la comprensión de la evolución de caracteres que determinan el éxito en el apareamiento y la fecundación, o de las diferencias entre los sexos.

Selección sexual post-cópula y la evolución de la poliandria. In: Dopazo, H. and Navarro, A. (Eds). Adaptación y Evolución. 150 años después del Origen de las Especies.
Garcia-Gonzalez, F. 2009 Selección sexual post-cópula y la evolución de la poliandria. In: Dopazo, H. and Navarro, A. (Eds). Adaptación y Evolución. 150 años después del Origen de las Especies Sociedad Española de Biología Evolutiva-Obrapropia S. L., Valencia
Abstract

En un gran número de especies las hembras se aparean de manera poliándrica (con varios machos durante un mismo episodio reproductivo). Este comportamiento tiene consecuencias evolutivas de suma importancia, incluyendo que posibilita la continuación de la selección sexual más allá del apareamiento. Por ello, la comprensión del significado adaptativo de la poliandria ha suscitado gran interés entre los biólogos evolutivos. Aquí se exponen, a grandes rasgos, las principales hipótesis que se han sugerido para explicar el apareamiento múltiple femenino desde una perspectiva evolutiva, y se discuten brevemente algunos retos pendientes en este área. Se destaca el hecho de que existen procesos de selección sexual post-cópula que pueden jugar un papel fundamental en la adquisición de beneficios de naturaleza genética por parte de las hembras poliándricas.

Evolutionary reduction in testes size and competitive fertilization success in response to the experimental removal of sexual selection in dung beetles
Simmons, L. W. & Garcia-Gonzalez, F. 2008 Evolutionary reduction in testes size and competitive fertilization success in response to the experimental removal of sexual selection in dung beetles Evolution, 62:2580-2591
Abstract
Sexual selection is thought to favor the evolution of secondary sexual traits in males that contribute to mating success. In species where females mate with more than one male, sexual selection also continues after copulation in the form of sperm competition and cryptic female choice. Theory suggests that sperm competition should favor traits such as testes size and sperm production that increase a male’s competitive fertilization success. Studies of experimental evolution offer a powerful approach for assessing evolutionary responses to variation in sexual selection pressures. Here we removed sexual selection by enforcing monogamy on replicate lines of a naturally polygamous horned beetle, Onthophagus taurus, and monitoring male investment in their testes for 21 generations. Testes size decreased in monogamous lines relative to lines in which sexual selection was allowed to continue. Differences in testes size were dependent on selection history and not breeding regime. Males from polygamous lines also had a competitive fertilization advantage when in sperm competition with males from monogamous lines. Females from polygamous lines produced sons in better condition, and those from monogamous lines increased their sons condition by mating polygamously. Rather than being costly for females, multiple mating appears to provide females with direct and/or indirect benefits. Neither body size nor horn size diverged between our monogamous and polygamous lines. Our data show that sperm competition does drive the evolution of testes size in onthophagine beetles, and provide general support for sperm competition theory.
The relative nature of fertilization success: implications for the study of post-copulatory sexual selection
Garcia-Gonzalez, F. 2008 The relative nature of fertilization success: implications for the study of post-copulatory sexual selection BMC Evolutionary Biology, 8:140
Abstract
Background: The determination of genetic variation in sperm competitive ability is fundamental to distinguish between post-copulatory sexual selection models based on good-genes vs compatible genes. The sexy-sperm and the good-sperm hypotheses for the evolution of polyandry require additive (intrinsic) effects of genes influencing sperm competitiveness, whereas the genetic incompatibility hypothesis invokes non-additive genetic effects. A male's sperm competitive ability is typically estimated from his fertilization success, a measure that is dependent on the ability of rival sperm competitors to fertilize the ova. It is well known that fertilization success may be conditional to genotypic interactions among males as well as between males and females. However, the consequences of effects arising from the random sampling of sperm competitors upon the estimation of genetic variance in sperm competitiveness have been overlooked. Here I perform simulations of mating trials performed in the context of sibling analysis to investigate whether the ability to detect additive genetic variance underlying the sperm competitiveness phenotype is hindered by the relative nature of fertilization success measurements. Results: Fertilization success values render biased sperm competitive ability values. Furthermore, asymmetries among males in the errors committed when estimating sperm competitive abilities are likely to exist as long as males exhibit variation in sperm competitiveness. Critically, random effects arising from the relative nature of fertilization success lead to an underestimation of underlying additive genetic variance in sperm competitive ability. Conclusion: The results show that, regardless of the existence of genotypic interactions affecting the output of sperm competition, fertilization success is not a perfect predictor of sperm competitive ability because of the stochasticity of the background used to obtain fertilization success measures. Random effects need to be considered in the debate over the maintenance of genetic variation in sperm competitiveness, and when testing good-genes and compatible-genes processes as explanations of polyandrous behaviour using repeatability/heritability data in sperm competitive ability. These findings support the notion that the genetic incompatibility hypothesis needs to be treated as an alternative hypothesis, rather than a null hypothesis, in studies that fail to detect intrinsic sire effects on the sperm competitiveness phenotype.

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