Transgenic male mating advantage provides opportunity for Trojan gene effect in a fish.
ABSTRACT: Genetically modified (GM) strains now exist for many organisms, producing significant promise for agricultural production. However, if these organisms have some fitness advantage, they may also pose an environmental harm when released. High mating success of GM males relative to WT males provides such an important fitness advantage. Here, we provide documentation that GM male medaka fish modified with salmon growth hormone possess an overwhelming mating advantage. GM medaka offspring possess a survival disadvantage relative to WT, however. When both of these fitness components are included in our model, the transgene is predicted to spread if GM individuals enter wild populations (because of the mating advantage) and ultimately lead to population extinction (because of the viability disadvantage). Mating trials indicate that WT males use alternative mating tactics in an effort to counter the mating advantage of GM males, and we use genetic markers to ascertain the success of these alternative strategies. Finally, we model the impact of alternative mating tactics by WT males on transgene spread. Such tactics may reduce the rate of transgene spread, but not the outcome.
Project description:When mates are limited, individuals should allocate resources to mating tactics that maximize fitness. In species with extra-pair paternity (EPP), males can invest in mate guarding, or, alternatively, in seeking EPP. Males should optimize fitness by adjusting investment according to their attractiveness to females, such that attractive males seek EPP, and unattractive males guard mates. This theory has received little empirical testing, leaving our understanding of the evolution of mating tactics incomplete; it is unclear how a male's relative attractiveness influences his tactics. We conducted observations and experiments on red-backed fairy-wrens (Malurus melanocephalus) to address this question. We found that older, more attractive (red-black) males sought EPP, whereas unattractive (brown) males invested in alternative tactics-physical and acoustic mate guarding. Younger red-black males used intermediate tactics. This suggests that males adopt mating tactics appropriate to their attributes. Males obtained similar reproductive success, suggesting these alternative tactics may maximize each male's paternity gain. Though it is likely that female choice also determines paternity, rather than just male tactics, we establish that the many interconnected components of a male's sexual phenotype influence the evolution of his decision-making rules, deepening our understanding of how mating tactics evolve under sexual selection.
Project description:Males often fight with rival males for access to females. However, some males display nonfighting tactics such as sneaking, satellite behavior, or female mimicking. When these mating tactics comprise a conditional strategy, they are often thought to be explained by resource holding potential (RHP), that is, nonfighting tactics are displayed by less competitive males who are more likely to lose a fight. The alternative mating tactics, however, can also be explained by life-history theory, which predicts that young males avoid fighting, regardless of their RHP, if it pays off to wait for future reproduction. Here, we test whether the sneaking tactic displayed by young males of the two-spotted spider mite can be explained by life-history theory. We tested whether young sneaker males survive longer than young fighter males after a bout of mild or strong competition with old fighter males. We also investigated whether old males have a more protective outer skin-a possible proxy for RHP-by measuring cuticle hardness and elasticity using nanoindentation. We found that young sneaker males survived longer than young fighter males after mild male competition. This difference was not found after strong male competition, which suggests that induction of sneaking tactic is affected by male density. Hardness and elasticity of the skin did not vary with male age. Given that earlier work could also not detect morphometric differences between fighter and sneaker males, we conclude that there is no apparent increase in RHP with age in the mite and age-dependent male mating tactics in the mite can be explained only by life-history theory. Because it is likely that fighting incurs a survival cost, age-dependent alternative mating tactics may be explained by life-history theory in many species when reproduction of old males is a significant factor in fitness.
Project description:Sexual conflict over mating rate is both pervasive and evolutionarily costly. For females, the lifetime reproductive fitness costs that arise through interactions with potential mates will be influenced by the frequency of such interactions, and the fitness cost of each interaction. Both of these factors are likely to be influenced by variation in operational sex ratio (OSR) and population density. Variation in OSR- and density-dependent male alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) may be particularly important if the fitness costs that females experience vary with the reproductive tactics that males express. Using a simple model, we consider several examples of OSR- and/or density-dependent variation in male ARTs and the frequency of male-female interactions, and find that variation in the expression of male ARTs has the potential to augment or diminish the costs of frequent male interactions for females. Accurately documenting variation in the expression of male ARTs and associated female fitness costs will benefit future work in this area.
Project description:Despite its well-described role in female affiliation, the influence of oxytocin on male pairbonding is largely unknown. However, recent human studies indicate that this nonapeptide has a potent influence on male behaviors commonly associated with monogamy. Here we investigated the distribution of oxytocin receptors (OTR) throughout the forebrain of the socially monogamous male prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster). Because males vary in both sexual and spatial fidelity, we explored the extent to which OTR predicted monogamous or non-monogamous patterns of space use, mating success and sexual fidelity in free-living males. We found that monogamous males expressed higher OTR density in the nucleus accumbens than non-monogamous males, a result that mirrors species differences in voles with different mating systems. OTR density in the posterior portion of the insula predicted mating success. Finally, OTR in the hippocampus and septohippocampal nucleus, which are nuclei associated with spatial memory, predicted patterns of space use and reproductive success within mating tactics. Our data highlight the importance of oxytocin receptor in neural structures associated with pairbonding and socio-spatial memory in male mating tactics. The role of memory in mating systems is often neglected, despite the fact that mating tactics impose an inherently spatial challenge for animals. Identifying mechanisms responsible for relating information about the social world with mechanisms mediating pairbonding and mating tactics is crucial to fully appreciate the suite of factors driving mating systems. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Oxytocin, Vasopressin, and Social Behavior.
Project description:Abstract During male–male competition, evolution can favor alternative reproductive tactics. This often results in a dominant morph that holds a resource, such as a nest for egg laying, which competes with a smaller sneaker morph that reproduces by stealing fertilizations. The salinity environment can influence male growth rates, for example, via osmoregulatory costs, which in turn may influence the use of sneaker tactics for small males competing for mating opportunities. Salinity can also affect sperm directly; however, little is known of how salinity influences sneaker tactics through sperm performance. We sampled males of the invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) from two environments, a freshwater river and a brackish estuary. This fish has two male morphs: nest?holding dark males and non?nest?holding light males. We examined the role of water salinity of 0, 8, and 16 on sperm performance and found that for estuarine males, a salinity of 0 reduced sperm velocity compared to a salinity of 8 and 16. Riverine males had low velocity in all salinities. Sperm viability also decreased by over 30% in 0 salinity, compared to 8 and 16, for fish from both environments. Gobies produce ejaculate contents in specialized glands that could in theory shield sperm in an adverse environment. However, gland contents did not improve sperm performance in our tests. Body mass and age estimates indicate that riverine males invested more in somatic growth compared to estuarine males. Estuarine light morph males had a high enough gonadosomatic index to indicate sneaker tactics. We propose that when sperm performance is low, such as for the riverine males, sneaker tactics are ineffective and will be selected against or phenotypically suppressed. Instead, we interpret the increased investment in somatic growth found in riverine males as a life?history decision that is advantageous when defending a nest in the next reproductive season. For a male fish too small to defend mating resources such as a female or her eggs, siring offspring can be achieved by sneaking into another male's nest and ejaculating there. In the invasive round goby, this alternative tactic requires sperm to function long enough to fertilize the eggs. This fish has spread into a range of salinities, but for some populations, fresh water decreases sperm velocity and lifespan, and severely limits the use of these alternative reproductive tactics to the point where they may disappear from use.
Project description:Understanding the evolution and spread of insecticide resistance requires knowing the relative fitness of resistant organisms. In the absence of insecticides, resistance is predicted to be costly. The Drosophila melanogaster DDT resistance allele (DDT-R) is associated with a male mating cost. This could be because resistant males are generally smaller, but DDT-R may also alter courtship behaviours. Here we tested for body size and courtship effects of DDT-R on mating success in competitive and non-competitive mating trials respectively. We also assessed relative aggression in resistant and susceptible males because aggression can also influence mating success. While the effect of DDT-R on male size partly contributed to reduced mating success, resistant males also had lower rates of courtship and were less aggressive than susceptible males. These differences contribute to the observed DDT-R mating costs. Additionally, these pleiotropic effects of DDT-R are consistent with the history and spread of resistance alleles in nature.
Project description:The maintenance of genetic variation in the face of natural selection is a long-standing question in evolutionary biology. In the bluefin killifish Lucania goodei, male coloration is polymorphic. Males can produce either red or yellow coloration in their anal fins, and both color morphs are present in all springs. These 2 morphs are heritable and how they are maintained in nature is unknown. Here, we tested 2 mechanisms for the maintenance of the red/yellow color morphs. Negative frequency-dependent mating success predicts that rare males have a mating advantage over common males. Spatial variation in fitness predicts that different color morphs have an advantage in different microhabitat types. Using a breeding experiment, we tested these hypotheses by creating populations with different ratios of red to yellow males (5 red:1 yellow; 1 red:5 yellow) and determining male mating success on shallow and deep spawning substrates. We found no evidence of negative frequency-dependent mating success. Common morphs tended to have higher mating success, and this was particularly so on shallow spawning substrates. However, on deep substrates, red males enjoyed higher mating success than yellow males, particularly so when red males were rare. However, yellow males did not have an advantage at either depth nor when rare. We suggest that preference for red males is expressed in deeper water, possibly due to alterations in the lighting environment. Finally, male pigment levels were correlated with one another and predicted male mating success. Hence, pigmentation plays an important role in male mating success.
Project description:Among acarid mites, a number of species are characterised by the presence of discontinuous morphologies (armed heteromorphs vs. unarmed homeomorphs) associated with alternative mating tactics (fighting vs. scramble competition). In Rhizoglyphus echinopus, expression of the fighter morph is suppressed, via pheromones, in large, dense colonies. If this mechanism is adaptive, fighters should have relatively lower fitness in large and/or dense colonies, due to costs incurred from fighting, which is often fatal. In order to test these predictions, we quantified the survival and mating success of fighters and scramblers in colonies of equal sex and morph ratios; these colonies either differed in size (4, 8, or 32 individuals) but not density or differed in density but not size (all consisted of 8 individuals). We found that the relative survival and mating success of fighters was inversely related to colony size, but we did not find a significant effect of colony density. The higher mating success of fighters in small colonies was due to the fact that, after killing rival males, these fighters were able to monopolise females. This situation was not found in larger colonies, in which there was a larger number of competitors and fighters suffered relatively higher mortality. These results indicate that morph determination, guided by social cues, allows for the adaptive adjustment of mating tactics to existing demographic conditions.
Project description:Alternative mating tactics in males of various taxa are associated with body color, body size, and social status. Chameleons are known for their ability to change body color following immediate environmental or social stimuli. In this study, we examined whether the differential appearance of male common chameleon during the breeding season is indeed an expression of alternative mating tactics. We documented body color of males and used computer vision techniques to classify images of individuals into discrete color patterns associated with seasons, individual characteristics, and social contexts. Our findings revealed no differences in body color and color patterns among males during the non-breeding season. However, during the breeding season males appeared in several color displays, which reflected body size, social status, and behavioral patterns. Furthermore, smaller and younger males resembled the appearance of small females. Consequently, we suggest that long-term color change in males during the breeding season reflects male alternative mating tactics. Upon encounter with a receptive female, males rapidly alter their appearance to that of a specific brief courtship display, which reflects their social status. The females, however, copulated indiscriminately in respect to male color patterns. Thus, we suggest that the differential color patterns displayed by males during the breeding season are largely aimed at inter-male signaling.
Project description:Many crops contain domestication genes that are generally considered to lower fitness of crop-wild hybrids in the wild environment. Transgenes placed in close linkage with such genes would be less likely to spread into a wild population. Therefore, for environmental risk assessment of GM crops, it is important to know whether genomic regions with such genes exist, and how they affect fitness. We performed quantitative trait loci (QTL) analyses on fitness(-related) traits in two different field environments employing recombinant inbred lines from a cross between cultivated Lactuca sativa and its wild relative Lactuca serriola. We identified a region on linkage group 5 where the crop allele consistently conferred a selective advantage (increasing fitness to 212% and 214%), whereas on linkage group 7, a region conferred a selective disadvantage (reducing fitness to 26% and 5%), mainly through delaying flowering. The probability for a putative transgene spreading would therefore depend strongly on the insertion location. Comparison of these field results with greenhouse data from a previous study using the same lines showed considerable differences in QTL patterns. This indicates that care should be taken when extrapolating experiments from the greenhouse, and that the impact of domestication genes has to be assessed under field conditions.