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Evolution. 2004 Jun;58(6):1383-8; discussion 1389-93.

Sexual conflict and sexual selection: lost in the chase.

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Department of Animal Ecology, Evolutionary Biology Centre, University of Uppsala, Norbyvägen 18d, SE-752 36 Uppsala, Sweden.


The emergent field of evolutionary biology that studies disparities between the evolutionary interests of alleles expressed in the two sexes, or sexual conflict, promises to offer novel insights into male-female coevolution and speciation. Our theoretical understanding of basic concepts is, however, still incomplete. In a recent perspective paper, Pizzari and Snook provided a framework for understanding sexually antagonistic coevolution and for distinguishing this process from other models of male-female coevolution and suggested an experimental protocol to test for sexually antagonistic coevolution. Here, I show that the framework is flawed, primarily because it is built upon the mistaken assumption that male and female fitness can evolve independently. Further, while the empirical strategy advocated has indeed offered important insights in the past, it does not allow unambiguous discrimination between competing hypotheses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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