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      Comparing the intersex genetic correlation for fitness across novel environments in the fruit fly, Drosophila serrata.


      Animals, Crosses, Genetic, Drosophila, genetics, Environment, Female, Gene-Environment Interaction, Genetic Fitness, Genetic Variation, Genetics, Population, Inbreeding, Male, Phenotype

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          Sexually antagonistic genetic variation can pose limits to the independent evolution and adaptation of the sexes. The extent of sexually antagonistic variation is reflected in the intersex genetic correlation for fitness (rw(FM)). Previous estimates of this correlation have been mostly limited to populations in environments to which they are already well adapted, making it difficult to gauge the importance of sexually antagonistic genetic variance during the early stages of adaptation, such as that occurring following abrupt environmental change or upon the colonization of new habitat. Here we assayed male and female lifetime fitness in a population of Drosophila serrata in four novel laboratory environments. We found that rw(FM) varied significantly across environments, with point estimates ranging from positive to negative values of considerable magnitude. We also found that the variability among estimates was because, at least in part, of significant differences among environments in the genetic variances of both male and female fitness, with no evidence of any significant changes in the intersex covariance itself, although standard errors of these estimates were large. Our results illustrate the unpredictable nature of rw(FM) in novel environments and suggest that, although sexually antagonistic genetic variance can be pronounced in some novel environments, it may have little effect in constraining the early stages of adaptation in others.

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