Sexual conflict has been proposed to be a mediator of speciation but recent theoretical work, as well as empirical studies, suggests that sexual conflict may also be able to prevent speciation and to preserve genetic polymorphism within a species. Here, we develop a population genetic model and study the effects of sexual conflict in a polymorphic population. The morphs mate assortatively based on different sexually antagonistic traits and females are assumed to suffer a cost when the proportion of matching males is high. We consider the model in two different mating systems; promiscuity and polygyny. Our results show that genetic polymorphism may be maintained through negative frequency dependent selection established by assortative mating and female conflict costs. However, the outcome significantly differs between mating systems. Furthermore, we show that indirect selection may have profound effects on the evolutionary dynamics of a sexual conflict.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Biological Sciences