Broad-sense sexual selection, sex gene pool evolution, and speciation

Genome. 1999 Dec;42(6):1033-41.


Studies of sexual selection have traditionally focused on explaining the extreme sexual dimorphism in male secondary sexual traits and elaborate mating behaviors displayed by males during courtship. In recent years, two aspects of sexual selection have received considerable attention in the literature: an extension of the sexual selection concept to other traits (i.e., postcopulatory behaviors, external and internal genital morphology, gametes, molecules), and alternative mechanistic explanations of the sexual selection process (i.e., coevolutionary runaway, good-genes, sexual conflicts). This article focuses on the need for an extension of sexual selection as a mechanism of change for courtship and (or) mating male characters (i.e., narrow-sense sexual selection) to all components of sexuality not necessarily related to courtship or mating (i.e., broad-sense sexual selection). We bring together evidence from a wide variety of organisms to show that sex-related genes evolve at a fast rate, and discuss the potential role of broad-sense sexual selection as an alternative to models that limit speciation to strict demographic conditions or treat it simply as an epiphenomenon of adaptive evolution.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Pool*
  • Humans
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Sexual Behavior, Animal*