Sperm competition is an important fitness component in many animal groups. Drosophila melanogaster males exhibit substantial genetic variation for sperm competitive ability and females show considerable genetic variation for first versus second male sperm use. Currently, the forces responsible for maintaining genetic variation in sperm competition related phenotypes are receiving much attention. While several candidate genes contributing to the variation seen in male competitive ability are known, genes involved in female sperm use remain largely undiscovered. Without knowledge of the underlying genes, it will be difficult to distinguish between different models of sexual selection such as cryptic female choice and sexual conflict. We used quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping to identify regions of the genome contributing to female propensity to use first or second male sperm, female refractoriness to re-mating, and early-life fertility. The most well supported markers influencing the phenotypes include 33F/34A (P2), 57B (refractoriness) and 23F/24A (fertility). Between 10% and 15% of the phenotypic variance observed in these recombinant inbred lines was explained by these individual QTLs. More detailed investigation of the regions detected in this experiment may lead to the identification of genes responsible for the QTLs identified here.
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