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January American Naturalist highlights
Date:1/4/2008

t of sexual display traits in the Australian fruit fly, Drosophila serrata.

Both male and female Drosophila serrata use a set of pheromonal displays during mating, but differ in the relative concentrations of the individual compounds. Using a series of natural populations collected across a wide latitudinal gradient along the east coast of Australia, the authors show that the amount of sexual dimorphism varies and that these differences among populations are genetic. Using classic quantitative genetic methods, they demonstrate that the relaxation of genetic constraints appears to have occurred largely via genes on the X chromosome. There are a number of mechanisms by which genetic constraints can be overcome, says Dr. Steve Chenoweth, Our results suggest that sex-linkage may be key. By manipulating both natural and sexual selection and observing the evolutionary response in the laboratory, the authors also show that, as expected, sexual selection appears to generate sex-specific optima for these pheromones. Contrary to expectation, however, females and not males responded to sexual selection. This suggests that the classic scenario of males as the sole target of sexual selection may be overly simplistic, states Dr. Howard Rundle. If you want to know why males and females differ, you need to consider all forms of selection on both sexes.


"Multifunctional bracts in the dove tree Davidia involucrata (Nyssaceae: Cornales): rain protection and pollinator attraction"
Ji-Fan Sun (Wuhan University), Yan-Bing Gong (Wuhan University), Susanne S. Renner (University of Munich), and Shuang-Quan Huang (Wuhan University)

Davidia involucrata, the handkerchief tree or dove tree, is widely cultivated in parks and gardens because of its striking white bracts, which can reach 50 square cm in size. What might be the function of these bracts" This question had never been investigated, partly perhaps because in its native habitat in subtrop
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Contact: Rudy Faust
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