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Artificial selection on male genitalia length alters female brain size
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Zoology.
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Number of Authors: 5
2016 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 283, no 1843, 20161796Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Male harassment is a classic example of how sexual conflict over mating leads to sex-specific behavioural adaptations. Females often suffer significant costs from males attempting forced copulations, and the sexes can be in an arms race over male coercion. Yet, despite recent recognition that divergent sex-specific interests in reproduction can affect brain evolution, sexual conflict has not been addressed in this context. Here, we investigate whether artificial selection on a correlate of male success at coercion, genital length, affects brain anatomy in males and females. We analysed the brains of eastern mosquitofish (Gambusia holbrooki), which had been artificially selected for long or short gonopodium, thereby mimicking selection arising from differing levels of male harassment. By analogy to how prey species often have relatively larger brains than their predators, we found that female, but not male, brain size was greater following selection for a longer gonopodium. Brain subregion volumes remained unchanged. These results suggest that there is a positive genetic correlation between male gonopodium length and female brain size, which is possibly linked to increased female cognitive ability to avoid male coercion. We propose that sexual conflict is an important factor in the evolution of brain anatomy and cognitive ability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 283, no 1843, 20161796
Keyword [en]
sexual conflict, sexual dimorphism, brain evolution, male harassment, gonopodium, Gambusia holbrooki
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-139309DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.1796ISI: 000390349900010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-139309DiVA: diva2:1074171
Available from: 2017-02-14 Created: 2017-02-14 Last updated: 2017-02-14Bibliographically approved

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Buechel, Séverine D.Kotrschal, AlexanderKolm, Niclas
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CiteExportLink to record
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