Stalk-eyed flies have eyes displaced laterally from the head on elongate stalks in both sexes. Males have exaggerated eyespan and this trait functions as a sexual ornament. Evidence from the field and laboratory shows that females prefer to mate with males that have the largest eyespan. It is thought that male eyespan acts as a signal of male genetic quality, as this sexually exaggerated trait exhibits heightened condition dependent expression. Teleopsis dalmanni is emerging as one of the key model systems for studying sexual selection driven by female mate preference and features as a key species in many popular textbooks. We will use state-of-the-art molecular techniques to measure and map genetic variation in the stalk-eyed fly, T. dalmanni. Our goal is to map genetic variation in male eyespan of stalk-eyed flies across natural populations. We will initially concentrate on a population from the Gombak valley in Malaysia as this was the source for a laboratory based study of genetic variation. We will also investigate a distantly related population of T. dalmanni, to establish whether the same set of genetic loci contribute to genetic variation in eyespan in an evolutionarily divergent population. Finally, we will cross individuals from these two natural populations to establish which quantitative genetic loci have contributed to evolutionary divergence between populations.
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