Coevolution of senders and receivers of sexual signals: Genetic coupling and genetic correlations

Trends Ecol Evol. 1991 Jul;6(7):225-7. doi: 10.1016/0169-5347(91)90027-U.


The parallel evolution of senders and receivers of sexual signals has been a topic of research in both neuroethology and evolutionary quantitative genetics. Neuroethologists have debated whether the same physiological mechanism underlies both production and reception of a signal, and whether the same genes affect the physiology of communication in each sex. Quantitative geneticists have discussed the possibility that particular types of signals, and preferences for those types, are inherited together. Studies of communication by a variety of insect species do not provide strong support for a common physiological mechanism, but do not rule out the genetic effect. The neuroethological perspective may be of assistance in understanding the evolution of sexual communication because it offers a way to subdivide communication into units for genetic analysis.