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Title: Inverse Preference Learning: Preference-based RL without a Reward Function
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Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NeurIPS)
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    Social interactions can drive distinct gene expression profiles which may vary by social context. Here we use female sailfin molly fish (Poecilia latipinna) to identify genomic profiles associated with preference behavior in distinct social contexts: male interactions (mate choice) versus female interactions (shoaling partner preference). We measured the behavior of 15 females interacting in a non‐contact environment with either two males or two females for 30 min followed by whole‐brain transcriptomic profiling by RNA sequencing. We profiled females that exhibited high levels of social affiliation and great variation in preference behavior to identify an order of magnitude more differentially expressed genes associated with behavioral variation than by differences in social context. Using a linear model (limma), we took advantage of the individual variation in preference behavior to identify unique gene sets that exhibited distinct correlational patterns of expression with preference behavior in each social context. By combining limma and weighted gene co‐expression network analyses (WGCNA) approaches we identified a refined set of 401 genes robustly associated with mate preference that is independent of shoaling partner preference or general social affiliation. While our refined gene set confirmed neural plasticity pathways involvement in moderating female preference behavior, we also identified a significant proportion of discovered that our preference‐associated genes were enriched for ‘immune system’ gene ontology categories. We hypothesize that the association between mate preference and transcriptomic immune function is driven by the less well‐known role of these genes in neural plasticity which is likely involved in higher‐order learning and processing during mate choice decisions.

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  2. Abstract

    Female preferences for males producing their calls just ahead of their neighbours, leader preferences, are common in acoustically communicating insects and anurans. While these preferences have been well studied, their evolutionary origins remain unclear. We tested whether females gain a fitness benefit by mating with leading males inNeoconocephalus ensigerkatydids. We mated leading and following males with random females and measured the number and quality ofF1, the number ofF2and the heritability of the preferred male trait. We found that females mating with leaders and followers did not differ in the number ofF1orF2offspring. Females mating with leading males had offspring that were in better condition than those mating with following males suggesting a benefit in the form of higher quality offspring. We found no evidence that the male trait, the production of leading calls, was heritable. This suggests that there is no genetic correlate for the production of leading calls and that the fitness benefit gained by females must be a direct benefit, potentially mediated by seminal proteins. The presence of benefits indicates that leader preference is adaptive inN. ensiger, which may explain the evolutionary origin of leader preference; further tests are required to determine whether fitness benefits can explain the phylogenetic distribution of leader preference inNeoconocephalus. The absence of heritability will prevent leader preference from becoming coupled with or exaggerating the male trait and prevent females from gaining a ‘sexy‐sons’ benefit, weakening the overall selection for leader preference.

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