Data from: Tetracycline-exposed Drosophila melanogaster males produce fewer offspring but a relative excess of sons
O'Shea, Kaitlyn L.; Singh, Nadia D. (2016), Data from: Tetracycline-exposed Drosophila melanogaster males produce fewer offspring but a relative excess of sons, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.645h2
A large diversity of species possesses endosymbionts; these endosymbionts can exhibit mutualistic, parasitic, and commensal relationships with their hosts. Previous work has consistently revealed that depleting endosymbiont titer with antibiotic treatment can significantly alter host fitness and function, particularly with respect to reproductive phenotypes. Although these findings are often interpreted as resulting from the breakdown of highly coevolved symbioses, it is possible that antibiotic treatment itself rather than endosymbiont removal contributes to the observed perturbations in reproductive phenotypes. Here, we investigate the effect of tetracycline treatment on sex ratio and male reproductive fitness using Drosophila melanogaster as a model system. Our results indicate that tetracycline-treated males produce a relative excess of sons. We also find that tetracycline treatment reduces the number of progeny produced by treated males but not treated females. These findings are independent of the effects of tetracycline on Wolbachia titer and implicate the antibiotic itself as mediating these changes. It is yet unclear whether the sex ratio shift and reduction in male reproductive fitness are direct or indirect consequences of tetracycline exposure, and more work is needed to determine the molecular mechanisms by which these disturbances in reproductive phenotypes arise. Our data highlight the importance of considering the potentially confounding effects of antibiotic treatment when investigating the effects of endosymbiont depletion on host phenotypes.