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Am Nat. 2002 Dec;160 Suppl 6:S214-24. doi: 10.1086/342898.

Sex chromosomes and sexual selection in poeciliid fishes.

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  • 1School of Biological Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney 2052, Australia.


We propose that the evolution of female preferences can be strongly influenced by linkage of attractive male traits to the Y chromosome and female preferences to the X chromosome in male heterogametic species. Such linkage patterns are predicted by models of the evolution of sexually antagonistic genes. Subsequent recombination of attractive male characters from the Y to the X would create physical linkage between attractive male trait and preference. A literature survey shows that Y linkage of potentially sexually antagonistic traits is common in poeciliid fishes and other species with sex chromosomes that are not well differentiated, but may also occur in taxa with degenerate Y chromosomes. In the guppy, attractive male traits are primarily Y and X linked; a literature review of the inheritance of sex-limited attractive male characters suggests that 16 are Y linked, 24 recombine between the X and Y, two are X linked, and two are autosomal. Crosses and backcrosses between high female preference (Endler's live-bearers) and low female preference (Rio San Miguel) guppy populations show that this character has a strong additive genetic component and that it will be possible to investigate the physical linkage of male and female sexually selected characters in this species through mapping studies.

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