Sex-dependent selection differentially shapes genetic variation on and off the guppy Y chromosome

Erik Postma*, Nicolle Spyrou, Lee Ann Rollins, Robert C. Brooks

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    Because selection is often sex-dependent, alleles can have positive effects on fitness in one sex and negative effects in the other, resulting in intralocus sexual conflict. Evolutionary theory predicts that intralocus sexual conflict can drive the evolution of sex limitation, sex-linkage, and sex chromosome differentiation. However, evidence that sex-dependent selection results in sex-linkage is limited. Here, we formally partition the contribution of Y-linked and non-Y-linked quantitative genetic variation in coloration, tail, and body size of male guppies (Poecilia reticulata)-traits previously implicated as sexually antagonistic. We show that these traits are strongly genetically correlated, both on and off the Y chromosome, but that these correlations differ in sign and magnitude between both parts of the genome. As predicted, variation in attractiveness was found to be associated with the Y-linked, rather than with the non-Y-linked component of genetic variation in male ornamentation. These findings show how the evolution of Y-linkage may be able to resolve sexual conflict. More generally, they provide unique insight into how sex-specific selection has the potential to differentially shape the genetic architecture of fitness traits across different parts of the genome.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2145-2156
    Number of pages12
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011


    • Animal model
    • Fitness surface
    • G matrix
    • Intra-locus sexual conflict
    • Poecilia reticulata
    • Sex chromosome


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