Mating system variation drives rapid evolution of the female transcriptome in Drosophila pseudoobscura

Authors

  • Elina Immonen,

    Corresponding author
    1. School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, U.K
    2. Department of Ecology and Genetics (Animal Ecology), Evolutionary Biology Centre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden
    • Correspondence

      Elina Immonen, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, Dyers Brae House, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 9TH, UK.

      Tel: +4618 471 2627; Fax: +4618 471 6484;

      E-mail: elina.immonen@ebc.uu.se

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  • Rhonda R. Snook,

    1. Animal & Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, U.K
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  • Michael G. Ritchie

    1. School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, U.K
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Abstract

Interactions between the sexes are believed to be a potent source of selection on sex-specific evolution. The way in which sexual interactions influence male investment is much studied, but effects on females are more poorly understood. To address this deficiency, we examined gene expression in virgin female Drosophila pseudoobscura following 100 generations of mating system manipulations in which we either elevated polyandry or enforced monandry. Gene expression evolution following mating system manipulation resulted in 14% of the transcriptome of virgin females being altered. Polyandrous females elevated expression of a greater number of genes normally enriched in ovaries and associated with mitosis and meiosis, which might reflect female investment into reproductive functions. Monandrous females showed a greater number of genes normally enriched for expression in somatic tissues, including the head and gut and associated with visual perception and metabolism, respectively. By comparing our data with a previous study of sex differences in gene expression in this species, we found that the majority of the genes that are differentially expressed between females of the selection treatments show female-biased expression in the wild-type population. A striking exception is genes associated with male-specific reproductive tissues (in D. melanogaster), which are upregulated in polyandrous females. Our results provide experimental evidence for a role of sex-specific selection arising from differing sexual interactions with males in promoting rapid evolution of the female transcriptome.

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