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Female mating bias results in conflicting sex-specific offspring fitness


Indirect-benefit models of sexual selection assert that females gain heritable offspring advantages through a mating bias for males of superior genetic quality. This has generally been tested by associating a simple morphological quality indicator (for example, bird tail length) with offspring viability1. However, selection acts simultaneously on many characters, limiting the ability to detect significant associations, especially if the simple indicator is weakly correlated to male fitness2,3. Furthermore, recent conceptual developments suggest that the benefits gained from such mating biases may be sex-specific because of sexually antagonistic genes that differentially influence male and female reproductive ability4. A more suitable test of the indirect-benefit model would examine associations between an aggregate quality indicator1,3 (such as male mating success) and gender-specific adult fitness components, under the expectation that these components may trade off1. Here, we show that a father's mating success in the cricket, Allonemobius socius, is positively genetically correlated with his son's mating success but negatively with his daughter's reproductive success. This provides empirical evidence that a female mating bias can result in sexually antagonistic offspring fitness.

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Figure 1: Female mating bias resulted in conflicting sex-specific offspring fitness.


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We thank D. Promislow, P. Mack and J. Burger for comments on previous manuscript versions. We also thank N. Leung and A. Penn for assisting with cricket maintenance and data collection. This work was supported by a NSF Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant to K.M.F. and a NSF grant to T.A.M.

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Correspondence to Kenneth M. Fedorka.

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Fedorka, K., Mousseau, T. Female mating bias results in conflicting sex-specific offspring fitness. Nature 429, 65–67 (2004).

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