The sexes perform different reproductive roles and have evolved sometimes strikingly different phenotypes. One focal point of adaptive divergence occurs in the context of diet and metabolism, and males and females of a range of species have been shown to require different nutrients to maximize their fitness. Biochemical analyses in Drosophila melanogaster have confirmed that dimorphism in dietary requirements is associated with molecular sex differences in metabolite titres. In addition, they also showed significant within-sex genetic variation in the metabolome. To date however, it is unknown whether this metabolic variation translates into differences in reproductive fitness. The answer to this question is crucial to establish whether genetic variation is selectively neutral or indicative of constraints on sex-specific physiological adaptation and optimization. Here we assay genetic variation in consumption and metabolic fitness effects by screening male and female fitness of thirty D. melanogaster genotypes across four protein-to-carbohydrate ratios. In addition to confirming sexual dimorphism in consumption and fitness, we find significant genetic variation in male and female dietary requirements. Importantly, these differences are not explained by feeding responses and probably reflect metabolic variation that, in turn, suggests the presence of genetic constraints on metabolic dimorphism.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
|Published - 20 Dec 2017
- Sexual dimorphism