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Evolution. 2006 Jan;60(1):97-105.

Standing genetic variance for female resistance to harm from males and its relationship to intralocus sexual conflict.

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Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology, University of California, Santa Barbara 93106-9610, USA.


Interlocus sexual conflict theory predicts that some male adaptations are harmful to their mates. Females are therefore expected to evolve resistance to this harm. Using cytogenetic cloning techniques, we tested for heritable genetic variation among females for resistance to harm from males and determined whether propensity to remate, female body size, and intralocus conflict contributes to this variation. We found low but significant heritability for female resistance, but this variation accounted for more than half of the standing genetic variation for net fitness among females. We found no association between female resistance and female body size or level of intralocus sexual conflict. Reluctance to remate was found to be an important factor contributing to the female resistance phenotype, and we found a positive selection gradient on this trait. However, we observed only a nonsignificant positive correlation between a female's resistance and her net fitness. One factor contributing to the observed nominal level of selection on female resistance was that males cause the greatest amount of harm to females with the highest intrinsic fecundity.

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