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Sexual conflict

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Sexual conflict is a form of evolutionary conflict where males and females share different interests.

This can be in two forms:

1) interlocus sexual conflict, where male alleles have conflicting interests with females. This can be in the form of conflict over paternal care, where males are more prone to abandon offspring. Another form is sexual harassment, where males harm females to gain access to matings, such as when toxins are released in sperm by male Drosophila melanogaster.

2) intralocus sexual conflict, where the same set of alleles in males and females have different optima. i.e. they are expressed differently in the sexes. A classic example is the human hip, where females need larger hips for childbirth.

Some regard sexual conflict as a subset of sexual selection, while others suggest it is a separate evolutionary phenomena.

External Links


  • Arnqvist, G. & Rowe, L. (2005) Sexual conflict. Princeton University Press, Princeton
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