No evidence that experimental manipulation of sexual conflict drives premating reproductive isolation in Drosophila melanogaster


Stuart Wigby, Department of Biology, University College London, Darwin Building, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT, UK.
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Theoretical models predict that sexual conflict can drive reproductive isolation by decreasing the probability of matings between individuals from allopatric populations. A recent study in dung flies supported this prediction. To test the generality of this finding we used replicate lines of Drosophila melanogaster that had been selected under high, medium and low levels of sexual conflict, in which the females had evolved differences in their level of resistance to male-induced harm. We compared the proportion of virgin pairs that mated by set time points, for flies from the same replicate within each sexual conflict level vs. flies from different replicates within each sexual conflict level. The results did not support the prediction that, in D. melanogaster, sexual conflict drives population divergence via changes in female willingness to mate. The results were unlikely to be explained by differential inbreeding or by a lack of response to sexual conflict.