Nina Wedell

Nina Wedell
University of Exeter | UoE · Department of Biosciences

Professor

About

205
Publications
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Publications

Publications (205)
Article
A new study using artificial selection reveals that the size of the sex comb on the legs of male flies is genetically correlated with their fertility success under conditions of sperm competition.
Article
Attempts to control insect pests and disease vectors have a long history. Recently, new technology has opened a whole new range of possible methods to suppress or transform natural populations. But it has also become clear that a better understanding of the ecology of targeted populations is needed. One key parameter is mating behaviour. Often modi...
Article
Sexual selection is thought to be responsible for the rapid divergent evolution of male genitalia with several studies detecting multivariate sexual selection on genital form. However, in most cases, selection is only estimated during a single episode of selection, which provides an incomplete view of net selection on genital traits. Here we estima...
Article
Full-text available
Selfish genetic elements (SGEs) are diverse and near ubiquitous in Eukaryotes and can be potent drivers of evolution. Here, we discuss SGEs that specifically act on sperm to gain a transmission advantage to the next generation. The diverse SGEs that affect sperm often impose costs on carrier males, including damaging ejaculates, skewing offspring s...
Article
Selfish genetic elements (SGEs) are diverse and near ubiquitous in Eukaryotes and can be potent drivers of evolution. Here, we discuss SGEs that specifically act on sperm to gain a transmission advantage to the next generation. The diverse SGEs that affect sperm often impose costs on carrier males, including damaging ejaculates, skewing offspring s...
Preprint
Full-text available
Identifying loci associated with a phenotype is a critical step in many evolutionary studies. Most methods require large sample sizes or breeding designs that can be prohibitively difficult. Here we apply a rarely used approach to identify SNP loci associated with a complex phenotype. We mate siblings from isofemale lines isolate genotypes from thr...
Article
Full-text available
Selfish genetic elements (SGEs) such as replicating mobile elements, segregation distorters and maternally inherited endosymbionts, bias their transmission success relative to the rest of the genome to increase in representation in subsequent generations. As such, they generate conflict with the rest of the genome. Such intragenomic conflict is als...
Article
Full-text available
Meadow brown butterflies ( Maniola jurtina ) on the Isles of Scilly represent an ideal model in which to dissect the links between genotype, phenotype and long-term patterns of selection in the wild - a largely unfulfilled but fundamental aim of modern biology. To meet this aim, a clear description of genotype is required. Here we present the draft...
Article
Full-text available
Gene drive is a naturally occurring phenomenon in which selfish genetic elements manipulate gametogenesis and reproduction to increase their own transmission to the next generation. Currently, there is great excitement about the potential of harnessing such systems to control major pest and vector populations. If synthetic gene drive systems can be...
Article
Full-text available
Selfish genetic elements such as selfish chromosomes increase their transmission rate relative to the rest of the genome and can generate substantial cost to the organisms that carry them. Such segregation distorters are predicted to either reach fixation (potentially causing population extinction) or, more commonly, promote the evolution of geneti...
Article
Selfish 'meiotic drive' alleles are transmitted to more than 50% of offspring, allowing them to rapidly invade populations even if they reduce the fitness of individuals carrying them. Theory predicts that drivers should either fix or go extinct, yet some drivers defy these predictions by persisting at low, stable frequencies for decades. One possi...
Article
The Trematoda are a group of phylogenetically diverse metazoan parasites that exhibit complex life cycles that often pass through invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. Some trematodes influence their host's behaviour to benefit transmission. Their parasitic influence may impact host population size by inhibiting an individual's reproductive capacity....
Article
The Trematoda are a group of phylogenetically diverse metazoan parasites that exhibit complex life cycles that often pass through invertebrate and vertebrate hosts. Some trematodes influence their host’s behaviour to benefit transmission. Their parasitic influence may impact host population size by inhibiting an individual’s reproductive capacity....
Article
Full-text available
Infertility is common in nature despite its obvious cost to individual fitness. Rising global temperatures are predicted to decrease fertility, and male sterility is frequently used in attempts to regulate pest or disease vector populations. When males are infertile, females may mate with multiple males to ensure fertilization, and changes in femal...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Meadow brown butterflies ( Maniola jurtina ) on the Isles of Scilly represent an ideal model in which to dissect the links between genotype, phenotype and long-term patterns of selection in the wild - a largely unfulfilled but fundamental aim of modern biology. To meet this aim, a clear description of genotype is required. Findings Here...
Article
Fluctuating asymmetry (FA), defined as random deviations from perfect bilateral symmetry, is assumed to reflect developmental instability. FA is predicted to increase in response to environmental stress, including parasite infection. In addition, based on theory we predict a higher FA in sexually selected traits, due to their greater sensitivity to...
Article
The seemingly transparent wings of many insects have recently been found to display unexpected structural coloration. These structural colours (wing interference patterns: WIPs) may be involved in species recognition and mate choice, yet little is known about the evolutionary processes that shape them. Furthermore, to date investigations of WIPs ha...
Article
Full-text available
What drives mating system variation is a major question in evolutionary biology. Female multiple mating (polyandry) has diverse evolutionary consequences, and there are many potential benefits and costs of polyandry. However, our understanding of its evolution is biased towards studies enforcing monandry in polyandrous species. What drives and main...
Article
Immunity is an important mechanism of protection against pathogens and parasites. One factor that can influence immunity is mating. During mating, male-derived materials are transferred to females, and the physical contact also involves the potential risk of sexually transmitted infections, and wounding. Thus, mating can challenge a female’s immune...
Article
Full-text available
The rapid evolutionary divergence of male genital structures under sexual selection is well documented. However, variation in female genital traits and the potential for sexual conflict to drive the coevolution between male and female traits has only recently received attention. In many lepidopterans females possess genital teeth (collectively, sig...
Chapter
Environments are not just the physical environment but also the biotic and social environments provided by other individuals, which have emerge as key factors shaping behaviour and the effects of behaviour. As these latter environments are highly dynamic, continually changing and evolving, this form of gene‐environment interaction (GxE) is also alw...
Chapter
This chapter focuses on genomic parasites and symbionts, including microbes such as the gut microbiota and their impacts beyond 'normal' patterns of pathology. The primary goal is to describe how non‐self genes (NSGs) can influence the behaviour of their hosts in unexpected ways, both directly and indirectly. The chapter focuses primarily on invert...
Chapter
This book provides a broad snapshot of recent findings showing how the environment and genes influence behaviour. It attempts to kill the nature versus nurture polarity that has plagued the study of behaviour. This dichotomy is largely, but not totally, dead in academic circles but still haunts many debates outside academia, from views on teaching...
Article
Full-text available
Males and females share most of their genome and develop many of the same traits. However, each sex frequently has different optimal values for these shared traits, creating intralocus sexual conflict. This conflict has been observed in wild and laboratory populations of insects and affects important evolutionary processes such as sexual selection,...
Preprint
Full-text available
The seemingly transparent wings of many insects have recently been found to display dramatic structural coloration. These structural colours (wing interference patterns: WIPs) may be involved in species recognition and mate choice, yet little is known about the evolutionary processes that shape them. Additionally, existing research has been restric...
Article
The penis is an incredibly diverse and rapidly evolving structure, such that even in closely related species that otherwise differ very little in their morphology, penis form can be highly differentiated. Penises are also much more complex than their fundamental function — sperm transfer — would seem to require. The rapid divergent evolution of mal...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding the evolution and spread of insecticide resistance requires knowing the relative fitness of resistant organisms. In the absence of insecticides, resistance is predicted to be costly. The Drosophila melanogaster DDT resistance allele (DDT-R) is associated with a male mating cost. This could be because resistant males are generally smal...
Article
Major societal problems such as health, energy, food and clean water can be confronted using evolutionary principles, yet this approach is rarely explored.
Article
Full-text available
Background The number of partners that individuals mate with over their lifetime is a defining feature of mating systems, and variation in mate number is thought to be a major driver of sexual evolution. Although previous research has investigated the evolutionary consequences of reductions in the number of mates, we know little about the costs and...
Article
Full-text available
The BA allele of the Drosophila cytochrome P450 gene Cyp6g1 confers resistance to a range of insecticides. It is also subject to intralocus sexual conflict when introgressed into the Canton-S background, whose collection predates the widespread use of insecticides. In this genetic background, the allele confers a pleiotropic fitness benefit to fema...
Article
Full-text available
Understanding selection in the wild remains a major aim of evolutionary ecology and work by Ford and colleagues on the meadow brown butterfly Maniola jurtina did much to ignite this agenda. A great deal of their work was conducted during the 1950s on the Isles of Scilly. They documented island-specific wing-spot patterns that remained consistent ov...
Article
Correspondence: D.J. Hosken, Centre for Ecology & Conservation, University of Exeter, Cornwall, Tremough, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, U.K.
Article
Meiotic drivers are genetic variants that selfishly manipulate the production of gametes to increase their own rate of transmission, often to the detriment of the rest of the genome and the individual that carries them. This genomic conflict potentially occurs whenever a diploid organism produces a haploid stage, and can have profound evolutionary...
Data
Table S1 Number of females surviving each temperature treatment, and the number that successfully produced offspring.
Article
Full-text available
The maintenance of multiple morphs in warning signals is enigmatic because directional selection through predator avoidance should lead to the rapid loss of such variation. Opposing natural and sexual selection is a good candidate driving the maintenance of multiple male morphs but it also includes another enigma: when warning signal efficiency dif...
Article
Full-text available
Populations of a species often differ in key traits. However, it is rarely known whether these differences are associated with genetic variation and evolved differences between populations, or are instead simply a plastic response to environmental differences experienced by the populations. Here we examine the interplay of plasticity and direct gen...
Article
Full-text available
Sperm commonly compete within females to fertilise ova, but research has focused on short term sperm storage: sperm that are maintained in a female for only a few days or weeks before use. In nature, females of many species store sperm for months or years, often during periods of environmental stress, such as cold winters. Here we examine the outco...
Article
Full-text available
Multiple mating by females (polyandry) is a widespread behavior occurring in diverse taxa, species, and populations. Polyandry can also vary widely within species, and individual populations, so that both monandrous and polyandrous females occur together. Genetic differences can explain some of this intraspecific variation in polyandry, but environ...
Article
Full-text available
The maintenance of genetic variation through sexually antagonistic selection is controversial, partly because specific sexually-antagonistic alleles have not been identified. The Drosophila DDT resistance allele (DDT-R) is an exception. This allele increases female fitness, but simultaneously decreases male fitness, and it has been suggested that t...
Chapter
One aspect of sexual selection that Darwin was completely unaware of was the role of Selfish Genetic Elements (SGEs). SGEs are genes, organelles or microorganisms present within the genome or cell of an organism that spread through populations by subverting normal patterns of inheritance in ways that increase their representation in the next genera...
Article
Segregation distorters located on sex chromosomes are predicted to sweep to fixation and cause extinction via a shortage of one sex, but in nature they are often found at low, stable frequencies. One potential resolution to this long-standing puzzle involves female multiple mating (polyandry). Because many meiotic drivers severely reduce the sperm...
Article
Segregation distorters located on sex chromosomes are predicted to sweep to fixation and cause extinction via a shortage of one sex, but in nature they are often found at low, stable frequencies. One potential resolution to this long-standing puzzle involves female multiple mating (polyandry). Because many meiotic drivers severely reduce the sperm...
Article
Full-text available
Symbionts that distort their host's sex ratio by favouring the production and survival of females are common in arthropods. Their presence produces intense Fisherian selection to return the sex ratio to parity, typified by the rapid spread of host 'suppressor' loci that restore male survival/development. In this study, we investigated the genomic i...
Article
Intralocus sexual conflict and intragenomic conflict both affect sex chromosome evolution and can in extreme cases even cause the complete turnover of sex chromosomes. Additionally, established sex chromosomes often become the focus of heightened conflict. This creates a tangled relationship between sex chromosomes and conflict with respect to caus...
Article
Full-text available
Parental care is common in vertebrates, but less common in invertebrates, tending to occur in species that have relatively few young that can be protected from the physical or biotic environment. Individuals will be selected to trade off current and future reproductive success, leading to adaptive changes in brood care behaviour in response to pred...
Article
Full-text available
Intralocus sexual conflict results from sexually antagonistic selection on traits shared by the sexes. This can displace males and females from their respective fitness optima, and negative intersexual correlations (rmf) for fitness are the unequivocal indicator of this evolutionary conflict. It has recently been suggested that intersexual fitness...
Data
Table S1. Effect sizes for sex, isoline and their interaction measured using partial Eta squared (ηp2) and Eta squared (η2) for three levels of inbreeding (short, medium and long periods post establishment of isolines) where sex is a fixed effect and isoline is random (SS = sum of squares).
Article
Full-text available
Female multiple mating, known as polyandry, is ubiquitous and occurs in a wide variety of taxa. Polyandry varies greatly from species in which females mate with one or two males in their lifetime to species in which females may mate with several different males on the same day. As multiple mating by females is associated with costs, numerous hypoth...
Preprint
Full-text available
Symbionts that distort their host?s sex ratio by favouring the production and survival of females are common in arthropods. Their presence produces intense Fisherian selection to return the sex ratio to parity, typified by the rapid spread of host ?suppressor? loci that restore male survival/development. In this study, we investigated the genomic i...
Article
Full-text available
A popular notion in sexual selection is that females are polyandrous and their offspring are commonly sired by more than a single male. We now have large-scale evidence from natural populations to be able to verify this assumption. Although we concur that polyandry is a generally common and ubiquitous phenomenon, we emphasise that it remains variab...
Article
Full-text available
The extent of female multiple mating (polyandry) can strongly impact on the intensity of sexual selection, sexual conflict, and the evolution of cooperation and sociality. More subtly, polyandry may protect populations against intragenomic conflicts that result from the invasion of deleterious selfish genetic elements (SGEs). SGEs commonly impair s...
Article
Most insects harbour a variety of maternally inherited endosymbionts, the most widespread being Wolbachia pipientis that commonly induce cytoplasmic incompatibility (CI) and reduced hatching success in crosses between infected males and uninfected females. High temperature and increasing male age are known to reduce the level of CI in a variety of...
Article
As a result of female remating, sexual selection can operate both before and after copulation, yet studies of sexual selection on males tend to focus on individual episodes of reproduction in isolation. We examined whether different episodes of sexual selection are related in the sperm-polymorphic Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella. We found t...
Article
Full-text available
Rapid and divergent evolution of male genital morphology is a conspicuous and general pattern across internally fertilizing animals. Rapid genital evolution is thought to be the result of sexual selection, and the role of natural selection in genital evolution remains controversial. However, natural and sexual selection are believed to act antagoni...
Article
Full-text available
Immune system maintenance and upregulation is costly. Sexual selection intensity, which increases male investment into reproductive traits, is expected to create trade-offs with immune function. We assayed phenoloxidase (PO) and lytic activity of individuals from populations of the Indian meal moth, Plodia interpunctella, which had been evolving un...
Article
Full-text available
Polyandry is widespread in nature, and has important evolutionary consequences for the evolution of sexual dimorphism and sexual conflict. Although many of the phenotypic consequences of polyandry have been elucidated, our understanding of the impacts of polyandry and mating systems on the genome is in its infancy. Polyandry can intensify selection...
Article
Full-text available
Selfish genetic elements (SGEs) are ubiquitous in eukaryotes and bacteria, and make up a large part of the genome. They frequently target sperm to increase their transmission success, but these manipulations are often associated with reduced male fertility. Low fertility of SGE-carrying males is suggested to promote polyandry as a female strategy t...