Symposium: “The genomics of sexual conflict”

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Locke Rowe, Stephen F. Chenoweth, and Aneil F. Agrawal (Aug 2018)

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Sexual dimorphism is a substantial contributor to the diversity observed in nature, extending from elaborate traits to the expression level of individual genes. Sexual conflict and sexually antagonistic coevolution are thought to be central forces driving the dimorphism of the sexes and its diversity. We have substantial data to support this at the phenotypic level, but much less at the genetic level, where distinguishing a role conflict from other forms of sex-biased selection and from other processes is challenging. Here we discuss the powerful effects sexual conflict may have on genome evolution, and critically evaluate the supporting evidence. Although there is much potential for sexual conflict to affect genome evolution, we have relatively little compelling evidence of a genomic signature of sexual conflict. A central obstacle is the mismatch between taxa in which we understand sexually antagonistic selection and those in which we understand genetics.