Thursday, March 08, 2007

Why it pays to be picky

in case there was any doubt, mate preferences do matter...Gotta love model organisms. It would be interesting to somehow show that optional mate preference is different for each individual.

Experimental constraints on mate preferences in Drosophila pseudoobscura decrease offspring viability and fitness of mated pairs

Wyatt W. Anderson , Yong-Kyu Kim, and Patricia Adair Gowaty

PNAS Early Edition

Abstract: Using Drosophila pseudoobscura, we tested the hypothesis that social constraints on the free expression of mate preferences, by both females and males, decrease offspring viability and reproductive success of mating pairs. Mate preference arenas eliminated intrasexual combat and intersexual coercion. The time female and male choosers spent in arena tests near either of two opposite-sex individuals measured the preferences of choosers. We placed choosers in breeding trials with their preferred or nonpreferred discriminatee when they met the minimum criteria for showing the same preference in two consecutive tests. There was no statistically significant difference in the frequency of female and male choosers meeting minimal preference criteria. There was a significant difference between female and male choosers for offspring viability, with female choice having the greater effect, but there was not a significant difference in the overall reproductive success of male and female choosers. There were significant differences in fitness between matings to preferred and nonpreferred partners. Female and male choosers paired with their nonpreferred discriminatees had offspring of significantly lower viability, as predicted by the constraints hypothesis. Reproductive success, our measure of overall fitness, was greater when males or females mated with the partner they preferred rather than the one they did not prefer.

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