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Sex differences in life span: Females homozygous for the X chromosome do not suffer the shorter life span predicted by the unguarded X hypothesis
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6112-9586
2018 (English)In: Evolution, ISSN 0014-3820, E-ISSN 1558-5646, Vol. 72, no 3, p. 568-577Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Life span differs between the sexes in many species. Three hypotheses to explain this interesting pattern have been proposed, involving different drivers: sexual selection, asymmetrical inheritance of cytoplasmic genomes, and hemizygosity of the X(Z) chromosome (the unguarded X hypothesis). Of these, the unguarded X has received the least experimental attention. This hypothesis suggests that the heterogametic sex suffers a shortened life span because recessive deleterious alleles on its single X(Z) chromosome are expressed unconditionally. In Drosophila melanogaster, the X chromosome is unusually large (approximate to 20% of the genome), providing a powerful model for evaluating theories involving the X. Here, we test the unguarded X hypothesis by forcing D. melanogaster females from a laboratory population to express recessive X-linked alleles to the same degree as males, using females exclusively made homozygous for the X chromosome. We find no evidence for reduced life span or egg-to-adult viability due to X homozygozity. In contrast, males and females homozygous for an autosome both suffer similar, significant reductions in those traits. The logic of the unguarded X hypothesis is indisputable, but our results suggest that the degree to which recessive deleterious X-linked alleles depress performance in the heterogametic sex appears too small to explain general sex differences in life span.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
WILEY , 2018. Vol. 72, no 3, p. 568-577
Keywords [en]
Ageing; Drosophila; life span; sex differences; unguarded X; X chromosome
National Category
Evolutionary Biology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-147130DOI: 10.1111/evo.13434ISI: 000427676800011PubMedID: 29430636OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-147130DiVA, id: diva2:1199516
Note

Funding Agencies|Royal Physiographic Society in Lund; Swedish Research Council; Helge Ax:son Johnsons stiftelse

Available from: 2018-04-20 Created: 2018-04-20 Last updated: 2018-05-23

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