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Adaptive male effects on female ageing in seed beetles

Summary: Adaptive male effects on female ageing
in seed beetles
Alexei A. Maklakov*, Natacha Kremer and Go¨ran Arnqvist
Animal Ecology/Department of Ecology and Evolution, Uppsala University, Norbyva¨gen 18D, 752 36 Uppsala, Sweden
Selection can favour the evolution of a high reproductive rate early in life even when this results in a
subsequent increase in the rate of mortality, because selection is relatively weak late in life. However, the
optimal reproductive schedule of a female may be suboptimal to any one of her mates, and males may thus
be selected to modulate female reproductive rate. Owing to such sexual conflict, coevolution between
males and females may contribute to the evolution of senescence. By using replicated beetle populations
selected for reproduction at an early or late age, we show that males evolve to affect senescence in females in
a manner consistent with the genetic interests of males. `Late' males evolved to decelerate senescence and
increase the lifespan of control females, relative to `early' males. Our findings demonstrate that adaptive
evolution in one sex may involve its effects on senescence in the other, showing that the evolution of
optimal life histories in one sex may be either facilitated or constrained by genes expressed in the other.
Keywords: male­female coevolution; senescence; sexually antagonistic coevolution;
Acanthoscelides obtectus; life history
Senescence can be defined as an age-specific increase in
mortality rate and/or a corresponding decline in repro-
ductive performance (Medawar 1952; Williams 1957;


Source: Arnqvist, Göran - Department of Animal Ecology, Uppsala Universitet


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology