Selection in Natural Populations

By Jeffry B. Mitton | Go to book overview

8
Female Choice and Male Fitness

Whether mate choice could be based mainly on genetic quality of the potential mate has been a puzzle to evolutionary biologists. Population genetic theory predicts that any balanced polymorphism for a selected trait ends with zero heritability of fitness, so that no one mate is better for "good genes" than any other.

W. D. Hamilton and M. Zuk, "Heritable True Fitness and Bright Birds" ( 1982)

There are both theoretical and observational grounds for thinking that there will be a low parent-offspring correlation for fitness (in effect, additive genetic variance for fitness is rapidly depleted . . .). Therefore, a female who selects as a mate a male of high fitness does not increase the expected fitness of her own offspring.

J. Maynard-Smith, The Evolution of Sex ( 1978)

Contrary to the expectations of the lek paradox, selection on sexual traits has not caused an exhaustion of additive genetic variance. If anything, the reverse appears to be the case.

A. Pomiankowski and A. P. Møler, "A resolution of the lek paradox" ( 1995)

Sexual selection ( Darwin 1871) may be defined as two forms of natural selection driven by the disparate sizes of male and female gametes and the consequent differential parental investment in offspring ( Thornhill and Alcock 1983; Williams 1975; Williams and Mitton 1973). Females are usually the limiting sex in reproduction, for they invest more energy in each gamete and they supply the majority of the parental effort. Because males often commit only some tiny cells and the energy needed for courtship and copulation, they are usually cavalier in their engagement in sex. Because females lose

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Selection in Natural Populations
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • 1 - Natural Selection, Fitness Determination, and Molecular Variation 3
  • Summary 12
  • 2 - Classes of Abundant Genetic Variation 14
  • 3 - Environmental Variability and Enzyme Polymorphism 29
  • Summary 37
  • 4 - The Impact of a Single Gene 39
  • Summary 57
  • 5 - Patterns of Variation Among Loci 58
  • Summary 71
  • 6 - The Axis of Individual Heterozygosity: Theory 73
  • Summary 86
  • 7 - The Axis of Individual Heterozygosity: Empirical Data 87
  • Summary 126
  • 8 - Female Choice and Male Fitness 127
  • Summary 142
  • 9 - Patterns Among Species 144
  • Summary 156
  • 10 - The Sisyphean Cycle 157
  • Summary 166
  • 11 - Comments on Natural Selection 167
  • Appendices 175
  • Bibliography 199
  • Index 233
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