Hemiclonal analysis reveals significant genetic, environmental and genotype × environment effects on sperm size in Drosophila melanogaster

Morrow, E H, Leijon, A and Meerupati, A (2008) Hemiclonal analysis reveals significant genetic, environmental and genotype × environment effects on sperm size in Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 21 (6). pp. 1692-1702. ISSN 1420-9101

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Abstract

Spermatozoa are the most diverse of all animal cells. Variation in size alone is enormous and yet there are still no clear evolutionary explanations that can account for such diversity. The basic genetics of sperm form is also poorly understood, although sperm size is known to have a strong genetic component. Here, using hemiclonal analysis of Drosophila melanogaster, we demonstrate that there is not only a significant additive genetic component contributing to phenotypic variation in sperm length but also a significant environmental effect. Furthermore, the plasticity of sperm size has a significant genetic component to it (a genotype × environment interaction). A genotype × environment interaction could contribute to the maintenance of the substantial genetic variation in this trait and thereby explain the persistent inter-male differences in sperm size seen in numerous taxa. We suggest that the low conditional dependence and high heritability but low evolvability (the coefficient of additive genetic variation) of sperm length is more consistent with a history of stabilizing selection rather than either sexual selection or strong directional selection.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Evolution, Behaviour and Environment
Subjects: Q Science
Depositing User: Ted Morrow
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2012 11:50
Last Modified: 31 Oct 2012 11:50
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/40275
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