Sort by

Send to

Choose Destination

Search results

Items: 2

  • Filters activated: Field: Title Word. Clear all
PLoS One. 2013 May 22;8(5):e63807. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063807. Print 2013.

Sexual and natural selection both influence male genital evolution.

Author information

Centre for Ecology and Conservation, Biosciences, University of Exeter, Penryn, Cornwall, United Kingdom.


Rapid and divergent evolution of male genital morphology is a conspicuous and general pattern across internally fertilizing animals. Rapid genital evolution is thought to be the result of sexual selection, and the role of natural selection in genital evolution remains controversial. However, natural and sexual selection are believed to act antagonistically on male genital form. We conducted an experimental evolution study to investigate the combined effects of natural and sexual selection on the genital-arch lobes of male Drosophila simulans. Replicate populations were forced to evolve under lifetime monogamy (relaxed sexual selection) or lifetime polyandry (elevated sexual selection) and two temperature regimes, 25°C (relaxed natural selection) or 27°C (elevated natural selection) in a fully factorial design. We found that natural and sexual selection plus their interaction caused genital evolution. Natural selection caused some aspects of genital form to evolve away from their sexually selected shape, whereas natural and sexual selection operated in the same direction for other shape components. Additionally, sexual and natural selection tended to favour larger genitals. Thus we find that the underlying selection driving genital evolution is complex, does not only involve sexual selection, and that natural selection and sexual selection do not always act antagonistically.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
Icon for Public Library of Science Icon for PubMed Central
Trends Ecol Evol. 2004 Feb;19(2):87-93.

Sexual selection and genital evolution.

Author information

Zoologisches Museum, University of Zurich-Irchel, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.


Genitalia are conspicuously variable, even in closely related taxa that are otherwise morphologically very similar. Explaining genital diversity is a longstanding problem that is attracting renewed interest from evolutionary biologists. New studies provide ever more compelling evidence that sexual selection is important in driving genital divergence. Importantly, several studies now link variation in genital morphology directly to male fertilization success, and modern comparative techniques have confirmed predicted associations between genital complexity and mating patterns across species. There is also evidence that male and female genitalia can coevolve antagonistically. Determining mechanisms of genital evolution is an important challenge if we are to resolve current debate concerning the relative significance of mate choice benefits and sexual conflict in sexual selection.

Comment in

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center