Sex chromosomes and sexual selection in poeciliid fishes

Am Nat. 2002 Dec;160 Suppl 6:S214-24. doi: 10.1086/342898.


We propose that the evolution of female preferences can be strongly influenced by linkage of attractive male traits to the Y chromosome and female preferences to the X chromosome in male heterogametic species. Such linkage patterns are predicted by models of the evolution of sexually antagonistic genes. Subsequent recombination of attractive male characters from the Y to the X would create physical linkage between attractive male trait and preference. A literature survey shows that Y linkage of potentially sexually antagonistic traits is common in poeciliid fishes and other species with sex chromosomes that are not well differentiated, but may also occur in taxa with degenerate Y chromosomes. In the guppy, attractive male traits are primarily Y and X linked; a literature review of the inheritance of sex-limited attractive male characters suggests that 16 are Y linked, 24 recombine between the X and Y, two are X linked, and two are autosomal. Crosses and backcrosses between high female preference (Endler's live-bearers) and low female preference (Rio San Miguel) guppy populations show that this character has a strong additive genetic component and that it will be possible to investigate the physical linkage of male and female sexually selected characters in this species through mapping studies.