Battle of the Sexes – The Scientist News Article
Genetic variation should not be taken for granted. If one trait has even a slight edge over another, it should quickly overtake a population; nonetheless, most populations have tremendous genetic variety. One commonly cited explanation for populations’ ability to stave off uniformity is the existence of traits that benefit one sex but handicap the other. But such sexual conflict is not enough, according to a paper published today in Science, which identified other evolutionary mechanisms that are also needed, in conjunction with clashing male and female interests, to maintain diversity.
“This paper addresses one of the fundamental questions in evolutionary biology, which is why do you see variation genetically and in traits in populations that are subject to selection,” said Robert Cox, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Virginia who was not involved in the research. “The really interesting thing about that study is that it combines two theories that, together, keep stirring that pot of variation.”
Image courtesy of Mikael Mökkönen