GENETIC DIFFERENTIATION BY SEXUAL CONFLICT

T. Hayashi, M. D. Vose and S. Gavrilets

Departments of  Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Mathematics, and Computer Science, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996

Sexual conflict has been suggested as a general cause of genetic diversification in reproductive characters, and as a possible cause of speciation. We use individual-based simulations to study the dynamics of sexual conflict in an isolated diploid population with no spatial structure. To explore the effects of genetic details, we consider two different types of inter- locus interaction between female and male traits, and three different types of intra-locus interaction. In the simulations, sexual conflict resulted in at least the following five regimes: (i) continuous coevolutionary chase, (ii) evolution toward an equilibrium, (iii) cyclic coevolution, (iv) extensive genetic differentiation in female traits/genes only, and (v) extensive genetic differentiation in both male and female traits/genes. Genetic differentiation was hardly observed when the traits involved in reproduction were determined additively and interacted in a trait-by-trait way. When the traits interacted in a component-by-component way, genetic differentiation was frequently observed under relatively broad conditions. The likelihood of genetic differentiation largely depended on the number of loci and the type of within-locus dominance. With multiple loci per trait, genetic differentiation was often observed but sympatric speciation was typically hindered by recombination. Sympatric speciation was possible but only under restrictive conditions. Our simulations also highlight the importance of stochastic effects in the dynamics of sexual conflict.