News of the WeekEvolutionary Biology

Successful Flies Make Love, Not War

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Science  03 Jul 1998:
Vol. 281, Issue 5373, pp. 25
DOI: 10.1126/science.281.5373.25

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VANCOUVER-- Evolutionary biologists had thought that male rivalry over females benefits the population as a whole, outweighing the costs of tactics such as those in fruit flies, where the males produce toxic semen that thwarts their rivals but also harms their mates. But in a study reported here last week at the annual meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution, researchers found that when they forced fruit flies to be monogamous, allowing evolution to disarm the seminal fluid, the monogamous population produced more offspring overall than control populations did.