Evol Ecol Res 4: 911-917 (2002)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Mate choice or polyandry: reconciling genetic compatibility and good genes sexual selection

Nick Colegrave,1 Janne S. Kotiaho2 and Joseph L. Tomkins3*

1ICAPB, University of Edinburgh, Ashworth Laboratories, Edinburgh EH9 3JT, UK, 2Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, PO Box 35, FIN-40351 Jyväskylä, Finland and 3Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Bute Medical Building, The University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Fife KY16 9TS, UK

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: jlt1@st-andrews.ac.uk


Sexual selection for good genes is based on the assumption that ‘good genes’ are equally good for all females. In contrast, selection for genetic compatibility is based on the assumption that offspring viability will depend on the interaction between male and female genotypes, and hence one male may not be good for all females. Here we present a simple model to examine the relationship between the genetic compatibility hypothesis and good genes sexual selection. We examine the circumstances under which selection arising from genetic compatibility will favour an increase in the number of males a female mates with. Our model shows that if there is some cost of mating, then some form of sperm selection based on compatibility is essential for the evolution of polyandry for compatibility. Furthermore, we found that when both good genes and compatibility selection are in operation, selection for compatibility can reduce directional sexual selection by causing females to mate with males of lower genetic quality.

Keywords: female choice, female control, incompatibility, indicator mechanism.

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        © 2002 Joseph L. Tomkins. All EER articles are copyrighted by their authors. All authors endorse, permit and license Evolutionary Ecology Ltd. to grant its subscribing institutions/libraries the copying privileges specified below without additional consideration or payment to them or to Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. These endorsements, in writing, are on file in the office of Evolutionary Ecology, Ltd. Consult authors for permission to use any portion of their work in derivative works, compilations or to distribute their work in any commercial manner.

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