Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Biology

Supervisor

Amanda Moehring

Abstract

The rapid divergence of male genitalia in a variety of animal groups is a well documented phenomenon for which there exists no universal explanation. The three prevalent hypotheses for the divergence of genitalia, the lock and key, pleiotropy and sexual selection, have all been tested in individual model organisms, but never have individual experiments been performed in one species pair to allow for direct comparison. Drosophila simulans and D. mauritiana have long been thought to be an example of the sensory lock and key model, but no concrete data has ever been presented to verify the validity of the model. This work looks to employ three different techniques to investigate each of the hypotheses, disproving the long held lock and key model and instead supporting the more generally accepted sexual selection hypothesis. These techniques could help to apply a more general explanation for the rapid divergence of male genitalia.


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