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Uppsala, Sweden

Maklakov A.A.,Ageing Research Group
Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society | Year: 2013

The rate by which new mutations are introduced into a population may have far-reaching implications for processes at the population level. Theory assumes that all individuals within a population have the same mutation rate, but this assumption may not be true. Compared with individuals in high condition, those in poor condition may have fewer resources available to invest in DNA repair, resulting in elevated mutation rates. Alternatively, environmentally induced stress can result in increased investment in DNA repair at the expense of reproduction. Here, we directly test whether sexual harassment by males, known to reduce female condition, affects female capacity to alleviate DNA damage in Drosophila melanogaster fruitflies. Female gametes can repair double-strand DNA breaks in sperm, which allows manipulating mutation rate independently from female condition. We show that male harassment strongly not only reduces female fecundity, but also reduces the yield of dominant lethal mutations, supporting the hypothesis that stressed organisms invest relatively more in repair mechanisms. We discuss our results in the light of previous research and suggest that social effects such as density and courtship can play an important and underappreciated role in mediating condition-dependent mutation rate.


Maklakov A.A.,Ageing Research Group | Immler S.,Ageing Research Group | Lovlie H.,Ageing Research Group | Flis I.,Ageing Research Group | Friberg U.,Ageing Research Group
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences | Year: 2013

The rate by which new mutations are introduced into a population may have far-reaching implications for processes at the population level. Theory assumes that all individuals within a population have the same mutation rate, but this assumption may not be true. Compared with individuals in high condition, those in poor condition may have fewer resources available to invest in DNA repair, resulting in elevated mutation rates. Alternatively, environmentally induced stress can result in increased investment in DNA repair at the expense of reproduction. Here, we directly test whether sexual harassment by males, known to reduce female condition, affects female capacity to alleviate DNA damage in Drosophila melanogaster fruitflies. Female gametes can repair double-strand DNA breaks in sperm, which allows manipulating mutation rate independently from female condition. We show that male harassment strongly not only reduces female fecundity, but also reduces the yield of dominant lethal mutations, supporting the hypothesis that stressed organisms invest relatively more in repair mechanisms. We discuss our results in the light of previous research and suggest that social effects such as density and courtship can play an important and underappreciated role in mediating condition-dependent mutation rate. © 2012 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.

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