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Sex-dependent expression of behavioural genetic architectures and the evolution of sexual dimorphism

Chang S. Han, Niels J. Dingemanse
2017 Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences  
Empirical studies imply that sex-specific genetic architectures can resolve evolutionary conflicts between males and females, and thereby facilitate the evolution of sexual dimorphism. Sex-specificity of behavioural genetic architectures has, however, rarely been considered. Moreover, as the expression of genetic (co)variances is often environment-dependent, general inferences on sex-specific genetic architectures require estimates of quantitative genetics parameters under multiple conditions.
more » ... ltiple conditions. We measured exploration and aggression in pedigreed populations of southern field crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) raised on either naturally balanced (free-choice) or imbalanced ( protein-deprived) diets. For each dietary condition, we measured for each behavioural trait (i) level of sexual dimorphism, (ii) level of sex-specificity of survival selection gradients, (iii) level of sex-specificity of additive genetic variance, and (iv) strength of the cross-sex genetic correlation. We report here evidence for sexual dimorphism in behaviour as well as sex-specificity in the expression of genetic (co)variances as predicted by theory. The additive genetic variances of exploration and aggression were significantly greater in males compared with females. Cross-sex genetic correlations were highly positive for exploration but deviating (significantly) from one for aggression; findings were consistent across dietary treatments. This suggests that genetic architectures characterize the sexually dimorphic focal behaviours across various key environmental conditions in the wild. Our finding also highlights that sexual conflict can be resolved by evolving sexually independent genetic architectures.
doi:10.1098/rspb.2017.1658 pmid:28978735 fatcat:7ufb7bovczczllqti2c6cl6ioe