No evidence of conpopulation sperm precedence between allopatric populations of house mice

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    Abstract

    © 2014 Firman, Simmons. Investigations into the evolution of reproductive barriers have traditionally focused on closely related species, and the prevalence of conspecific sperm precedence. The effectiveness of conspecific sperm precedence at limiting gene exchange between species suggests that gametic isolation is an important component of reproductive isolation. However, there is a paucity of tests for evidence of sperm precedence during the earlier stages of divergence, for example among isolated populations. Here, we sourced individuals from two allopatric populations of house mice (Mus domesticus) and performed competitive in vitro fertilisation assays to test for conpopulation sperm precedence specifically at the gametic level. We found that ova population origin did not influence the outcome of the sperm competitions, and thus provide no evidence of conpopulation or heteropopulation sperm precedence. Instead, we found that males from a population that had evolved under a high level of postcopulatory sexual selection consistently outcompeted males from a population that had evolved under a relatively lower level of postcopulatory sexual selection. We standardised the number of motile sperm of each competitor across the replicate assays. Our data therefore show that competitive fertilizing success was directly attributable to differences in sperm fertilizing competence.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-10
    Number of pages10
    JournalPLoS One
    Volume9
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 8 Oct 2014

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