Evolution of female choice under intralocus sexual conflict and genotype-by-environment interactions


In many species, females are hypothesised to obtain ‘good genes’ for their offspring by mating with males in good condition. However, female preferences might deplete genetic variance and make choice redundant. Additionally, high-condition males sometime produce low-fitness offspring, for example because of environmental turnover and gene-by-environment interactions (GEIs) for fitness, or because fit males carry sexually-antagonistic alleles causing them to produce unfit daughters. Here, we extend previous theory by investigating the evolution of female mate choice in a spatially explicit evolutionary simulation implementing both GEIs and intralocus sexual conflict (IASC), under sex-specific hard or soft selection. We show that IASC can weaken female preferences for high-condition males or even cause a preference for males in low condition, depending on the relative benefits of producing well-adapted sons versus daughters, which in turn depends on the relative hardness of selection on males and females. We discuss the relevance of our results to conservation genetics and empirical evolutionary biology.

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B