Evolutionary conflict

Sexual selection improves population fitness: a systematic review and meta-analysis

We synthesised 459 effect sizes from 65 pertinent experimental evolution studies using meta-analysis, and found that sexual selection on males tends to elevate the mean and reduce the variance for many fitness traits. The beneficial effect was stronger in female traits than males, and for populations evolving under stressful conditions. The results have implications for conservation and captive breeding programs.

Building a new research framework for social evolution: Intralocus caste antagonism

The breeding and non-breeding ‘castes’ of eusocial insects provide a striking example of role-specific selection, where each caste maximises fitness through different morphological, behavioural and physiological trait values. Typically, queens are …

The effects of stress and sex on selection, genetic covariance, and the evolutionary response

The capacity of a population to adapt to selection (evolvability) depends on whether the structure of genetic variation permits the evolution of fitter trait combinations. Selection, genetic variance and genetic covariance can change under …

The ecology and evolutionary dynamics of meiotic drive

Both naturally occurring and synthetic ‘meiotic drivers’ violate Mendel's law of equal segregation and can rapidly spread through populations even when they reduce the fitness of individuals carrying them. Synthetic drivers are being developed to …

Assessing the alignment of sexual and natural selection using radio-mutagenized seed beetles

A major unsolved question in evolutionary biology concerns the relationship between natural and sexual selection. Sexual selection might augment natural selection, for example if mutations that harm female fecundity also reduce male mating success. …

Coevolutionary dynamics of polyandry and sex-linked meiotic drive

Segregation distorters located on sex chromosomes are predicted to sweep to fixation and cause extinction via a shortage of one sex, but in nature they are often found at low, stable frequencies. One potential resolution to this longstanding puzzle …

The evolution of genomic imprinting: Costs, benefits and long-term consequences

Genomic imprinting refers to a pattern of gene expression in which a specific parent's allele is either under-expressed or completely silenced. Imprinting is an evolutionary conundrum because it appears to incur the costs of diploidy (e.g. presenting …

Caste load and the evolution of reproductive skew

Reproductive skew theory seeks to explain how reproduction is divided among group members in animal societies. Existing theory is framed almost entirely in terms of selection, though nonadaptive processes must also play some role in the evolution of …

Genetic constraints on dishonesty and caste dimorphism in an ant

The ultimate causes of honest signaling remain a subject of debate, with questions remaining over the relative importance of costs and constraints. Signal costs may make dishonesty prohibitively expensive, while genetic constraints could make it …

The consequences of polyandry for population viability, extinction risk and conservation

Polyandry, by elevating sexual conflict and selecting for reduced male care relative to monandry, may exacerbate the cost of sex and thereby seriously impact population fitness. On the other hand, polyandry has a number of possible population-level …