Data from: Sex differences in lifespan: females homozygous for the X chromosome do not suffer the shorter lifespan predicted by the unguarded X hypothesis
Brengdahl, Martin; Kimber, Christopher M.; Maguire-Baxter, Jack; Friberg, Urban (2018), Data from: Sex differences in lifespan: females homozygous for the X chromosome do not suffer the shorter lifespan predicted by the unguarded X hypothesis, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.8pb6r
Lifespan differs between the sexes in many species. Three hypotheses to explain this interesting pattern have been proposed, involving different drivers: sexual selection, asymmetrical inheritance of cytoplasmic genomes, and hemizygosity of the X(Z) chromosome (the unguarded X hypothesis). Of these, the unguarded X has received the least experimental attention. This hypothesis suggests that the heterogametic sex suffers a shortened lifespan because recessive deleterious alleles on its single X(Z) chromosome are expressed unconditionally. In Drosophila melanogaster, the X chromosome is unusually large (~20% of the genome), providing a powerful model for evaluating theories involving the X. Here, we test the unguarded X hypothesis by forcing D. melanogaster females from a laboratory population to express recessive X-linked alleles to the same degree as males, using females exclusively made homozygous for the X chromosome. We find no evidence for reduced lifespan or egg-to-adult viability due to X homozygozity. In contrast, males and females homozygous for an autosome both suffer similar, significant reductions in those traits. The logic of the unguarded X hypothesis is indisputable, but our results suggest that the degree to which recessive deleterious X-linked alleles depress performance in the heterogametic sex appears too small to explain general sex differences in lifespan.