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Letters to Nature
Nature 373, 241 - 244 (19 January 1995); doi:10.1038/373241a0

Cost of mating in Drosophila melanogaster females is mediated by male accessory gland products

Tracey Chapman*, Lindsay F. Liddle, John M. Kalb, Mariana F. Wolfner & Linda Partridge*

ICAPB, Ashworth Building, University of Edinburgh, West Mains Rd, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK, and * Department of Genetics and Biometry, University College London, Wolfson House, 4 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HE, UK
Section of Genetics and Development, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853-2703, USA
To whom correspondence should be addressed.

FEMALE Drosophila melanogaster with environmentally1–3 or genetically4 elevated rates of mating die younger than controls. This cost of mating is not attributable to receipt of sperm5. We demonstrate here that seminal fluid products from the main cells of the male accessory gland are responsible for the cost of mating in females, and that increasing exposure to these products increases female death rate. Main-cell products are also involved in elevating the rate of female egg-laying, in reducing female receptivity to further matings and in removing or destroying sperm of previous mates6–12. The cost of mating to females may therefore represent a side-effect of evolutionary conflict between males13.

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