Published December 13, 2017 | Version v1
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Data from: A species-specific multigene family mediates differential sperm displacement in Drosophila melanogaster

  • 1. University of California, Irvine
  • 2. National Central University
  • 3. University of Sydney


Sperm competition is a post-copulatory sexual selection mechanism in species in which females mate with multiple males. Despite its evolutionary relevance in shaping male traits, the genetic mechanisms underlying sperm competition are poorly understood. A recently originated multigene family specific to D. melanogaster, Sdic, is important for the outcome of sperm competition in doubly-mated females, although the mechanistic nature of this phenotype remained unresolved. Here we compared doubly-mated females, second mated to either Sdic knockout or non-knockout males, and directly visualize sperm dynamics in the female reproductive tract. We found that a less effective removal of first-to-mate male's sperm within the female's sperm storage organs is consistent with a reduced sperm competitive ability of the Sdic knockout males. Our results highlight the role young genes can play in driving the evolution of sperm competition.


Funding provided by: National Science Foundation
Crossref Funder Registry ID:
Award Number: MCB-1157876


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10.1111/evo.13417 (DOI)