Sexual selection

Curr Biol. 2011 Jan 25;21(2):R62-5. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.11.053.


Sexual selection is a concept that has probably been misunderstood and misrepresented more than any other idea in evolutionary biology, confusion that continues to the present day. We are not entirely sure why this is, but sexual politics seems to have played its role, as does a failure to understand what sexual selection is and why it was initially invoked. While in some ways less intuitive than natural selection, sexual selection is conceptually identical to it, and evolution via either mechanism will occur given sufficient genetic variation. Recent claims that sexual selection theory is fundamentally flawed are simply wrong and ignore an enormous body of evidence that provides a bedrock of support for this major mechanism of organic evolution. In fact it is partly due to this solid foundation that current research has largely shifted from documenting whether or not sexual selection occurs, to addressing more complex evolutionary questions.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mating Preference, Animal* / physiology
  • Selection, Genetic*
  • Sex Characteristics*