Models of speciation by sexual selection on polygenic traits

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1981 Jun;78(6):3721-5. doi: 10.1073/pnas.78.6.3721.


The joint evolution of female mating preferences and secondary sexual characters of males is modeled for polygamous species in which males provide only genetic material to the next generation and females have many potential mates to choose among. Despite stabilizing natural selection on males, various types of mating preferences may create a runaway process in which the outcome of phenotypic evolution depends critically on the genetic variation parameters and initial conditions of a population. Even in the absence of genetic instability, rapid evolution can result from an interaction of natural and sexual selection with random genetic drift along lines of equilibria. The models elucidate genetic mechanisms that can initiate or contribute to rapid speciation by sexual isolation and divergence of secondary sexual characters.