As moscas Drosofila melanogaster escolhem "racionalmente" os parceiros sexuais

quarta-feira, janeiro 18, 2017

Mate choice in fruit flies is rational and adaptive

Devin Arbuthnott, Tatyana Y. Fedina, Scott D. Pletcher & Daniel E. L. Promislow

Nature Communications 8, Article number: 13953 (2017)

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Animal behaviour Sexual selection

Received: 05 May 2016 Accepted: 16 November 2016 Published online: 17 January 2017

Source/Fonte: Texas A & M University


According to rational choice theory, beneficial preferences should lead individuals to sort available options into linear, transitive hierarchies, although the extent to which non-human animals behave rationally is unclear. Here we demonstrate that mate choice in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster results in the linear sorting of a set of diverse isogenic female lines, unambiguously demonstrating the hallmark of rational behaviour, transitivity. These rational choices are associated with direct benefits, enabling males to maximize offspring production. Furthermore, we demonstrate that female behaviours and cues act redundantly in mate detection and assessment, as rational mate choice largely persists when visual or chemical sensory modalities are impaired, but not when both are impaired. Transitivity in mate choice demonstrates that the quality of potential mates varies significantly among genotypes, and that males and females behave in such a way as to facilitate adaptive mate choice.


We thank Erin Tudor, Quynh Tran, Sharon Ornels, Alexandria McCarthy, Laurie Huang, William Gordon, Nick Force, Erika Gajda, Jake Mouser, Cindy Tseng and Eric Vanderbilt-Mathews for experimental help. Howard Rundle and Julie Colpitts performed gas chromatography for CHC extractions. Carly Ziegler provided valuable comments on an earlier draft. This work was funded by NIH grant GM102279 to S.D.P. and D.E.L.P and NIA Training Grant AG000114 to T.Y.F.

Author information


Department of Pathology, University of Washington, 1959 NE Pacific Street, Box 357705, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA

Devin Arbuthnott & Daniel E. L. Promislow

Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia, 4200-6270 University Boulevard, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V6T 1Z4

Devin Arbuthnott

Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, and Geriatrics Center, University of Michigan, 109 Zina Pitcher Place, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA

Tatyana Y. Fedina & Scott D. Pletcher

Department of Biology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA

Daniel E. L. Promislow


All authors devised and planned experiments. D.A. and T.Y.F. carried out experiments. D.A. and D.E.L.P. analysed the data. All authors wrote the paper. S.D.P. and D.E.L.P. funded the work.

Competing interests

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Devin Arbuthnott.

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