Introduction. Sexual conflict: a new paradigm?

T. Tregenza, N. Wedell, T. Chapman

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On 9–10 May 2005, over 200 people met at the Royal Society in London to discuss sexual conflict. Papers by 12 of the speakers are presented in this volume. In this introductory note we briefly discuss whether we have, or in fact need, a universal definition of sexual conflict. We briefly summarize what for us were the main messages emerging from the meeting in relation to where the field of sexual conflict currently stands, before finally attempting to distil some of the important unanswered questions for the future. Our motivation for organizing the meeting was that it seemed to us that in the last ten years or so, there has been a dramatic shift in the prevailing view of matings as being essentially ‘a good thing’ for both participants, to one in which they are regarded as ‘bad’ for females. This change has been driven primarily by some very elegant empirical work, which has generated some passionate advocacy (and some equally passionate resistance) for the importance of conflict. However, whether evolutionary biologists were mistakenly viewing male–female interactions as more benign than they actually are, or whether there is now a tendency to overemphasize the importance of conflicts of interest, is a major question that warrants consideration. This discussion meeting provided an opportunity to explore the state of the art and whether sexual conflict is indeed a new paradigm. This was made possible by the hard work of the participants, whom we would like to take this opportunity to thank.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-234
Number of pages6
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1466
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2006

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