Accurate alternative measurements for female lifetime reproductive success in Drosophila melanogaster

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Abstract

Fitness is an individual's ability to survive and reproduce, and is an important concept in evolutionary biology. However, accurately measuring fitness is often difficult, and appropriate fitness surrogates need to be identified. Lifetime reproductive success, the total progeny an organism can produce in their lifetime, is thought to be a suitable proxy for fitness, but the measure of an organism's reproductive output across a lifetime can be difficult or impossible to obtain. Here we demonstrate that the short-term measure of reproductive success across five days provides a reasonable prediction of an individual's total lifetime reproductive success in Drosophila melanogaster. However, the lifetime reproductive success of a female that has only mated once is not correlated to the lifetime reproductive success of a female that is allowed to mate multiple times, demonstrating that these measures should not serve as surrogates nor be used to make inferences about one another.

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Nguyen, T. T. X., & Moehring, A. J. (2015). Accurate alternative measurements for female lifetime reproductive success in Drosophila melanogaster. PLoS ONE, 10(6). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0116679

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