The general purpose of the paper is to test evolutionary optimality theories with experimental data on reproduction, energy consumption, and longevity in a particular Drosophila genotype. We describe the resource allocation in Drosophila females in terms of the oxygen consumption rates devoted to reproduction and to maintenance. The maximum ratio of the component spent on reproduction to the total rate of oxygen consumption, which can be realized by the female reproductive machinery, is called metabolic reproductive efficiency (MRE). We regard MRE as an evolutionary constraint. We demonstrate that MRE may be evaluated for a particular Drosophila phenotype given the fecundity pattern, the age-related pattern of oxygen consumption rate, and the longevity. We use a homeostatic model of aging to simulate a life history of a representative female fly, which describes the control strain in the long-term experiments with the Wayne State Drosophila genotype. We evaluate the theoretically optimal trade-offs in this genotype. Then we apply the Van Noordwijk-de Jong resource acquisition and allocation model, Kirkwood's disposable soma theory, and the Partridge-Barton optimality approach to test if the experimentally observed trade-offs may be regarded as close to the theoretically optimal ones. We demonstrate that the two approaches by Partridge-Barton and Kirkwood allow a positive answer to the question, whereas the Van Noordwijk-de Jong approach may be used to illustrate the optimality. We discuss the prospects of applying the proposed technique to various Drosophila experiments, in particular those including manipulations affecting fecundity.
Vol. 56 • No. 6
Vol. 56 • No. 6