Sex-biased gene expression in Drosophila melanogaster larvae
ABSTRACT: Genes with sex-biased expression in adults experience unique evolutionary dynamics. It is unclear, however, whether the selection pressures responsible for these well documented patterns also act upon genes with sex-biased expression in other developmental stages. To examine this, we measured expression in male and female Drosophila melanogaster larvae. Drosophila melanogaster wandering third instar larvae were sexed using the visible gonad. RNA was isolated from three replicate samples of male and female larvae and one sample each of adult males and females. RNA was prepared following the manufacturer's instructions, using single color labelling. Each sample/replicate was hybridized to one sector of the Agilent 4 sector array (a total of two arrays were used), with the following design: Array 1 had one larval male sample, one larval female sample, one adult male sample, and one adult female sample; Array 2 had two larval male samples and two larval female samples.
Project description:Male-biased susceptibility to parasites is common in dioecious plants. However, why males have higher parasite loads than females is unclear. Unlike males, females must subsidize post-fertilization costs of reproduction (e.g. seed and fruit development). As a result, females may have smaller pools of resources potentially available to parasites, thus leading to lower parasite loads. We tested this prediction in New Zealand's largest native moth ( Aenetus virescens: Lepidoptera), whose larvae parasitize Aristotelia serrata (Elaeocarpaceae), an endemic species of dioecious tree. We measured parasite loads in male and female trees, as well as annual seed set in females. We then derived a technique to equate the energetic cost of seed set in females to an equivalent number of parasitic larvae. Our results showed evidence for male-biased parasitism: male trees harboured more larval parasites than female trees. However, when parasite loads in males were compared with parasite loads in females, plus the energetic cost of seed production calculated as an equivalent number of parasitic larvae, differences in parasitism between the sexes disappeared. We conclude that male-biased parasitism in plants could arise from parasite-offspring (i.e. herbivore-seed) competition for female resources.
Project description:Polyembryonic parasitoids clonally produce sterile soldier larvae in both sexes. Female soldier larvae of Copidosoma floridanum defend their siblings and host resources against heterospecific competitors as well as conspecific male embryos that results in female biased sex ratios. However, the male soldiers of the USA strain exhibit no aggressive behaviors against them, suspected to be a secondary loss of male defense function in the course of evolution. From vitro and vivo experiments, we have found functional male soldiers in the Japanese strain of C. floridanum. In vitro experiments, male soldiers exhibit aggressions against four larval competitors, though aggressiveness is much weaker than that of female soldiers. In vivo experiments, heterospecific competitors are equivocally excluded in both male and female broods. Our findings support the idea that male soldiers have evolved primarily to defend against heterospecific competitors. Further experiments against conspecific embryos may be able to confirm this hypothesis.
Project description:Maternally inherited female-biased sex ratios have been documented in many invertebrate species. One cause of such biased sex ratios is male killing, i.e. only males die. In most species, male killing occurs during embryonic stages (early male killing) and is associated with cytoplasmic bacteria, including Wolbachia, Spiroplasma, Rickettsia, Flavobacteria and gamma proteobacteria. However, the oriental tea tortrix, Homona magnanima, is one of the few species in which male death occurs in the larval or pupal stage, and is thus an example of late male killing. We partially purified the agent causing late male killing in H. magnanima and showed that it consists of two RNA sequences. This represents an entirely novel agent causing late male killing.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Standardized larval rearing units for mosquito production are essential for the establishment of a mass-rearing facility. Two larval rearing units, developed respectively by the Guangzhou Wolbaki Biotech Co. Ltd. (Wolbaki) and Insect Pest Control Laboratory, Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture (FAO/IAEA-IPCL), are tested to assess their potential uses to mass-rear the larval stages of Aedes albopictus in support of the establishment of a medium-scale mosquito facility for the application of mosquito genetic control strategies. METHODS:The triple Wolbachia-infected Ae. albopictus strain (HC strain) was used in this study. The effects of larval densities of two larval rearing trays (corresponding to 2.4, 3.0 and 3.6 larvae/cm2) and tray size/position (top, middle and bottom layers) on the pupae production and larval survival were assessed when trays were stacked within the larval rearing units. The male pupae production, female pupae contamination after sex separation, and male mating competitiveness were also studied by using both larval rearing units in their entirety. RESULTS:The optimal larval rearing density for Wolbaki-tray (Wol-tray) was 6,600 larvae (equal to 3.0 larvae/cm2) and 18,000 larvae (3.6 larvae/cm2) for the FAO/IAEA-IPCL tray (IAEA-tray). No significant difference in pupae production was observed when trays were stacked within top, middle or bottom layers for both units. At thirty-four hours after the first pupation, the average male pupae production was (0.89 × 105) for the Wol-unit and (3.16 × 105) for the IAEA-unit. No significant difference was observed in female pupae contamination between these two units. The HC males showed equal male mating competitiveness to wild type males for mating with wild type females in large cages, regardless of whether they were reared in the Wol-unit or IAEA-unit. CONCLUSIONS:The current study has indicated that both the Wol-unit and IAEA-unit are suitable for larvae mass-rearing for Ae. albopictus. However, the IAEA-unit, with higher male production and less space required compared to the Wol-unit, is recommended to be used in support of the establishment of a medium-sized mosquito facility.
Project description:Cooperative behaviors are common among social insects such as bees, wasps, ants, and termites, but they have not been reported from insect species that use aggressive mimicry to manipulate and exploit prey or hosts. Here we show that larval aggregations of the blister beetle Meloe franciscanus, which parasitize nests of the solitary bee Habropoda pallida, cooperate to exploit the sexual communication system of their hosts by producing a chemical cue that mimics the sex pheromone of the female bee. Male bees are lured to larval aggregations, and upon contact (pseudocopulation) the beetle larvae attach to the male bees. The larvae transfer to female bees during mating and subsequently are transported to the nests of their hosts. To mimic the chemical and visual signals of female bees effectively, the parasite larvae must cooperate, emphasizing the adaptive value of cooperation between larvae. The aggressive chemical mimicry by the beetle larvae and their subsequent transport to their hosts' nests by the hosts themselves provide an efficient solution to the problem of locating a critical but scarce resource in a harsh environment.
Project description:A larval army caste is found in some parasitic wasps with polyembryonic or clonal proliferation, where many clone larvae emerge from a single egg. In contrast to non-parasitic eusocial Hymenoptera, sterile soldier larvae that protect their clonal reproductives are found in both females and males. Recently, the proportion of soldier larvae has been found to vary radically, depending on the internal conditions of the host, such as multiparasitism by other larval parasites. However, the proportion of male soldier larvae is constant, irrespective of the host internal environment. It is unknown if these traits are heritable. Here we show that a high heritability is found in both sexes, while, in the 6th instar hosts, substantially lower heritability is found in females. These results imply that the structure of the larval caste is determined genetically by both female and male embryonic cells, but more likely modified environmentally in females.
Project description:Parasitoid wasps are convenient subjects for testing sex allocation theory. However, their intricate life histories are often insufficiently captured in simple analytical models. In the polyembryonic wasp Copidosoma koehleri, a clone of genetically identical offspring develops from each egg. Male clones contain fewer individuals than female clones. Some female larvae develop into soldiers that kill within-host competitors, while males do not form soldiers. These features complicate the prediction of Copidosoma's sex allocation. We developed an individual-based simulation model, where numerous random starting strategies compete and recombine until a single stable sex allocation evolves. Life-history parameter values (e.g., fecundity, clone-sizes, larval survival) are estimated from experimental data. The model predicts a male-biased sex allocation, which becomes more extreme as the probability of superparasitism (hosts parasitized more than once) increases. To test this prediction, we reared adult parasitoids at either low or high density, mated them, and presented them with unlimited hosts. As predicted, wasps produced more sons than daughters in all treatments. Males reared at high density (a potential cue for superparasitism) produced a higher male bias in their offspring than low-density males. Unexpectedly, female density did not affect offspring sex ratios. We discuss possible mechanisms for paternal control over offspring sex.
Project description:Developmental plasticity provides individuals with a distinct advantage when the reproductive environment changes dramatically. Variation in population density, in particular, can have profound effects on male reproductive success. Females may be easier to locate in dense populations, but there may be a greater risk of sperm competition. Thus, males should invest in traits that enhance fertilization success over traits that enhance mate location. Conversely, males in less dense populations should invest more in structures that will facilitate mate location. In Lepidoptera, this may result in the development of larger antennae to increase the likelihood of detecting female sex pheromones, and larger wings to fly more efficiently. We explored the effects of larval density on adult morphology in the gum-leaf skeletonizer moth, Uraba lugens, by manipulating both the number of larvae and the size of the rearing container. This experimental arrangement allowed us to reveal the cues used by larvae to assess whether absolute number or density influences adult responses. Male investment in testes size depended on the number of individuals, while male investment in wings and antennae depended upon larval density. By contrast, the size of female antennae and wings were influenced by an interaction of larval number and container size. This study demonstrates that male larvae are sensitive to cues that may reveal adult population density, and adjust investment in traits associated with fertilization success and mate detection accordingly.
Project description:We investigated the role of Drosophila larva olfactory system in identification of congeners and aliens. We discuss the importance of these activities in larva navigation across substrates, and the implications for allocation of space and food among species of similar ecologies. Wild type larvae of cosmopolitan D. melanogaster and endemic D. pavani, which cohabit the same breeding sites, used species-specific volatiles to identify conspecifics and aliens moving toward larvae of their species. D. gaucha larvae, a sibling species of D. pavani that is ecologically isolated from D. melanogaster, did not respond to melanogaster odor cues. Similar to D. pavani larvae, the navigation of pavani female x gaucha male hybrids was influenced by conspecific and alien odors, whereas gaucha female x pavani male hybrid larvae exhibited behavior similar to the D. gaucha parent. The two sibling species exhibited substantial evolutionary divergence in processing the odor inputs necessary to identify conspecifics. Orco (Or83b) mutant larvae of D. melanogaster, which exhibit a loss of sense of smell, did not distinguish conspecific from alien larvae, instead moving across the substrate. Syn97CS and rut larvae of D. melanogaster, which are unable to learn but can smell, moved across the substrate as well. The Orco (Or83b), Syn97CS and rut loci are necessary to orient navigation by D. melanogaster larvae. Individuals of the Trana strain of D. melanogaster did not respond to conspecific and alien larval volatiles and therefore navigated randomly across the substrate. By contrast, larvae of the Til-Til strain used larval volatiles to orient their movement. Natural populations of D. melanogaster may exhibit differences in identification of conspecific and alien larvae. Larval locomotion was not affected by the volatiles.
Project description:Adult Aedes aegypti mosquitoes are important vectors of human disease. The size of the adult female affects her success, fitness, and ability to transmit diseases. The size of the adults is determined during the aquatic larval stage. Competition among larvae for food influences the size of the pupa and thus the adult. In these experiments, the food level (mg/larva) and the density (larvae/vial) both affect intraspecific competition, which shows up as the interaction of the two factors. Furthermore, the total food per vial affects the nature of competition among the larvae, also apparent in the interaction of food and density. Male larvae are affected by the percent of males in the vial, but females are not. Seven biologically significant dependent variables were examined, and the data analyzed by multivariate analysis of variance to gain insight into the relationships among the variables and the effects of these factors on the larvae as they grew in small containers. Male and female larvae compete differently from one another for the particulate yeast cells in this experiment; female larvae outcompete males through larger size and by retaining cells within their gut at low total food levels. Under conditions of more intense competition, the pupal masses of both males and females are smaller, so the effect of competition is a reduced apparent food level. The age at pupation is also affected by food and density. Across the twenty treatment combinations of food/larva and larvae/vial, female larvae grew as though there were six different ecological environments while male larvae grew as though there were only four different environments. No interference competition was observed. Eradication efforts aimed at adult populations of this mosquito may inadvertently increase the size and robustness of the next generation of larvae, resulting in a subsequent adult population increase in the second generation.