Sexual conflict and the gender load: Correlated evolution between population fitness and sexual dimorphism in seed beetles

Göran Arnqvist, Midori Tuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Although males and females share much of the same genome, selection is often distinct in the two sexes. Sexually antagonistic loci will in theory cause a gender load in populations, because sex-specific selection on a given trait in one sex will compromise the adaptive evolution of the same trait in the other sex. However, it is currently not clear whether such intralocus sexual conflict (ISC) represents a transient evolutionary state, where conflict is rapidly resolved by the evolution of sexual dimorphism (SD), or whether it is a more chronic impediment to adaptation. All else being equal, ISC should manifest itself as correlated evolution between population fitness and SD in traits expressed in both sexes. However, comparative tests of this prediction are problematic and have been unfeasible. Here, we assess the effects of ISC by comparing fitness and SD across distinct laboratory populations of seed beetles that should be well adapted to a shared environment. We show that SD in juvenile development time, a key life-history trait with a history of sexually antagonistic selection in this model system, is positively related to fitness. This effect is due to a correlated evolution between population fitness and development time that is positive in females but negative in males. Loosening the genetic bind between the sexes has evidently allowed the sexes to approach their distinct adaptive peaks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1345-1352
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume277
Issue number1686
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 7 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

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