Journal Article

Sex-specific effects of natural and sexual selection on the evolution of life span and ageing in Drosophila simulans

Archer, C. R., Duffy, E., Hosken, D. J., Mokkonen, M., Okada, K., Oku, K., Sharma, M. D., Hunt, J.
Functional Ecology, 29:4, 562–569 (2015)


Summary 1.Variation in the strength of age-dependent natural selection shapes differences in ageing rates across species and populations. Likewise, sexual selection can promote divergent patterns of senescence across the sexes. However, the effects of these processes on the evolution of ageing have largely been considered independently, and interactions between them are poorly understood. 2.We use experimental evolution to investigate how natural and sexual selection affect life span and ageing in Drosophila simulans. 3.Replicate populations were evolved under lifetime monogamy (relaxed sexual selection) or lifetime polyandry (elevated sexual selection) and at one of two temperatures, 25 °C (relaxed natural selection) or 27 °C (enhanced natural selection), in a fully factorial design. We measured longevity in 150 individually housed flies taken from each of three replicate populations per selection regime. 4.We found that natural and sexual selection affected the evolution of life span via sex-specific effects on different ageing parameters (ageing rate vs. baseline mortality): natural selection reduced the rate of ageing in both sexes but increased male baseline mortality, while sexual selection elevated baseline mortality in both sexes but particularly in males. 5.This means that sexual and natural selection interacted to reduce male life span but acted on female life span by independently affecting particular ageing parameters. Sex-specific effects of sexual and natural selection may help explain the diverse patterns of ageing seen in nature but complicate predictions about how ageing and life span evolve across the sexes. Keywords: ageing rates; evolutionary response; experimental evolution; longevity; senescence; sexual conflict
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.