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Condition-dependent mutation rates and sexual selection

Cotton, S; (2009) Condition-dependent mutation rates and sexual selection. J EVOLUTION BIOL , 22 (4) 899 - 906. 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01683.x.

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Abstract

'Good genes' models of sexual selection show that females can gain indirect benefits for their offspring if male ornaments are condition-dependent signals of genetic quality. Recurrent deleterious mutation is viewed as a major contributor to variance in genetic quality, and previous theoretical treatments of 'good genes' processes have assumed that the influx of new mutations is constant. I propose that this assumption is too simplistic, and that mutation rates vary in ways that are important for sexual selection. Recent data have shown that individuals in poor condition can have higher mutation rates, and I argue that if both male sexual ornaments and mutation rates are condition-dependent, then females can use male ornamentation to evaluate their mate's mutation rate. As most mutations are deleterious, females benefit from choosing well-ornamented mates, as they are less likely to contribute germline-derived mutations to offspring. I discuss some of the evolutionary ramifications of condition-dependent mutation rates and sexual selection.

Type:Article
Title:Condition-dependent mutation rates and sexual selection
DOI:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2008.01683.x
Keywords:condition, good genes, mutation rate, ornament, sexual selection, MALE-BIASED MUTATION, STALK-EYED FLIES, LEK PARADOX, GOOD GENES, INBREEDING DEPRESSION, FLUCTUATING ASYMMETRY, MATING PREFERENCES, SPERM COMPETITION, MATE PREFERENCES, ORNAMENT SIZE
UCL classification:UCL > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Biosciences (Division of)

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