Sexually antagonistic selection on genetic variation underlying both male and female same-sex sexual behavior

David Berger, Tao You, Maravillas R. Minano, Karl Grieshop, Martin I. Lind, Göran Arnqvist, Alexei A. Maklakov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Intralocus sexual conflict, arising from selection for different alleles at the same locus in males and females, imposes a constraint on sex-specific adaptation. Intralocus sexual conflict can be alleviated by the evolution of sex-limited genetic architectures and phenotypic expression, but pleiotropic constraints may hinder this process. Here, we explored putative intralocus sexual conflict and genetic (co)variance in a poorly understood behavior with near male-limited expression. Same-sex sexual behaviors (SSBs) generally do not conform to classic evolutionary models of adaptation but are common in male animals and have been hypothesized to result from perception errors and selection for high male mating rates. However, perspectives incorporating sex-specific selection on genes shared by males and females to explain the expression and evolution of SSBs have largely been neglected. Results: We performed two parallel sex-limited artificial selection experiments on SSB in male and female seed beetles, followed by sex-specific assays of locomotor activity and male sex recognition (two traits hypothesized to be functionally related to SSB) and adult reproductive success (allowing us to assess fitness consequences of genetic variance in SSB and its correlated components). Our experiments reveal both shared and sex-limited genetic variance for SSB. Strikingly, genetically correlated responses in locomotor activity and male sex-recognition were associated with sexually antagonistic fitness effects, but these effects differed qualitatively between male and female selection lines, implicating intralocus sexual conflict at both male- and female-specific genetic components underlying SSB. Conclusions: Our study provides experimental support for the hypothesis that widespread pleiotropy generates pervasive intralocus sexual conflict governing the expression of SSBs, suggesting that SSB in one sex can occur due to the expression of genes that carry benefits in the other sex.

Original languageEnglish
Article number88
JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Artificial selection
  • B-matrix
  • Behavioral syndrome
  • Genetic constraints
  • Intralocus sexual conflict
  • Mating strategy
  • Pleiotropy
  • Same-sex sexual behavior
  • Sexual antagonism
  • Sexual selection

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