The kin structure of sexual interactions

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Abstract

The origin of sexual reproduction involved the evolution of zygotes from separate genomes and, like other social processes, should therefore be amenable to analysis using kin selection theory. I consider how kin structure affects sexual interactions in three contexts—the evolution of sexual reproduction, sex allocation and sexual conflict. Kin structure helps explain the even-handed replication of paternal and maternal genes under outbreeding. Under inbreeding, it predicts altruistic failure to replicate by one half of the diploid genome. Kin structure predicts optimal sex ratios and potential conflicts over sex ratio within social groups and individuals. Sexual conflict predictably occurs as a function of (i) the probability that current sexual partners will reproduce together in future and (ii) between-partner relatedness. I conclude that systematically analysing the kin structure of sexual interactions helps illuminate their evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)689-692
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Volume5
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Oct 2009

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