Pleiotropy, "sexy" traits, and speciation

Kerry L. Shaw*, Christopher K. Ellison, Kevin P. Oh, Chris Wiley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The evolution of mating signals and preferences assists speciation by facilitating assortative mating within diverging lineages, thereby closing down conduits of gene flow between lineages. However, sexual communication traits are frequently subject to stabilizing selection, suggesting that new variants will be selected against, thereby discouraging their divergent evolution. Pleiotropic mutations may assist the evolution of sexual communication systems by introducing genetic covariation to signal and preference traits. New data from a range of taxa and sensory modalities are challenging more traditional views on the general importance of pleiotropy in sexual signaling systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1154-1155
Number of pages2
JournalBehavioral Ecology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • mate recognition
  • pleiotropy
  • sexual selection
  • speciation

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