Selection on the fly: short-term adaptation to an altered sexual selection regime in Drosophila pseudoobscura

Carolina Barata*, Rhonda R Snook, Michael G Ritchie, Carolin Kosiol*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Experimental evolution studies are powerful approaches to examine the evolutionary history of lab populations. Such studies have shed light on how selection changes phenotypes and genotypes. Most of these studies have not examined the time course of adaptation under sexual selection manipulation, by resequencing the populations’ genomes at multiple time points. Here, we analyze allele frequency trajectories in Drosophila pseudoobscura where we altered their sexual selection regime for 200 generations and sequenced pooled populations at 5 time points. The intensity of sexual selection was either relaxed in monogamous populations (M) or elevated in polyandrous lines (E). We present a comprehensive study of how selection alters population genetics parameters at the chromosome and gene level. We investigate differences in the effective population size—Ne—between the treatments, and perform a genome-wide scan to identify signatures of selection from the time-series data. We found genomic signatures of adaptation to both regimes in D. pseudoobscura. There are more significant variants in E lines as expected from stronger sexual selection. However, we found that the response on the X chromosome was substantial in both treatments, more pronounced in E and restricted to the more recently sex-linked chromosome arm XR in M. In the first generations of experimental evolution, we estimate Ne to be lower on the X in E lines, which might indicate a swift adaptive response at the onset of selection. Additionally, the third chromosome was affected by elevated polyandry whereby its distal end harbors a region showing a strong signal of adaptive evolution especially in E lines.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberevad113
Number of pages18
JournalGenome Biology and Evolution
Issue number7
Early online date4 Jul 2023
Publication statusPublished - 4 Jul 2023


  • Genomics
  • Sexual selection
  • Experimental evolution
  • Time series
  • Pooled sequencing


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