Phenotypic engineering of spermproductionrate confirms evolutionarypredictions of sperm competition theory

Kiyono Sekii, Dita B. Vizoso, Georg Kuales, Katrien De Mulder, Peter Ladurner, Lukas Schärer

研究成果: Article査読

27 被引用数 (Scopus)


Sperm production is a key male reproductive trait and an important parameter in sperm competition theory. Under sperm competition, paternity success is predicted to depend strongly on male allocation to sperm production. Furthermore, because sperm production is inherently costly, individuals should economize in sperm expenditure, and conditional adjustment of the copulation frequency according to their sperm availability may be expected. However, experimental studies showing effects of sperm production on mating behaviour and paternity success have so far been scarce, mainly because sperm production is difficult to manipulate directly in animals. Here, we used phenotypic engineering to manipulate spermproduction rate, by employing dose-dependent RNA interference (RNAi) of a spermatogenesis-specific gene, macbol1, in the free-living flatworm Macrostomum lignano. We demonstrate (i) that our novel dose-dependent RNAi approach allows us to induce high variability in sperm-production rate; (ii) that a reduced sperm-production rate is associated with a decreased copulation frequency, suggesting conditional adjustment of mating behaviour; and (iii) that both sperm production and copulation frequency are important determinants of paternity success in a competitive situation, as predicted by sperm competition theory. Our study clearly documents the potential of phenotypic engineering via dose-dependent RNAi to test quantitative predictions of evolutionary theory.

ジャーナルProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
出版ステータスPublished - 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • 生化学、遺伝学、分子生物学一般
  • 免疫学および微生物学一般
  • 環境科学一般
  • 農業および生物科学一般


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