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Science. 1992 Jun 5;256(5062):1436-9.

Sexually antagonistic genes: experimental evidence.

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  • Biology Board of Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz 95064.


When selection differs between the sexes, a mutation beneficial to one sex may be harmful to the other (sexually antagonistic). Because the sexes share a common gene pool, selection in one sex can interfere with the other's adaptive evolution. Theory predicts that sexually antagonistic mutations should accumulate in tight linkage with a new sex-determining gene, even when the harm to benefit ratio is high. Genetic markers and artificial selection were used to make a pair of autosomal genes segregate like a new pair of sex-determining genes in a Drosophila melanogaster model system. A 29-generation study provides experimental evidence that sexually antagonistic genes may be common in nature and will accumulate in response to a new sex-determining gene.

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