Hinterland Green

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Beetle Study Suggests "Battle of Sexes" Plays a Bigger Role in Evolution than Previously Thought

A new study of beetles by the Exeter, Okayama and Kyushu Universities recently published in Current Biology shows a genetic 'battle of the sexes' could be much harder to resolve and is even more integral to evolution than previously thought, according to Science Daily.
This battle, observed across many species and known as intralocus sexual conflict, happens when the genes for a trait which is good for the breeding success of one sex are bad for the other -- sparking an 'evolutionary tug-o-war' between the sexes.

It has previously been thought these issues were only resolved when the trait in question evolves to become sex-specific in its development -- meaning the trait only develops in the gender it benefits and stops affecting the other. An example of this is male peacocks' tails, used for mating displays, which are not present in females.

Professor Dave Hosken, from the Centre for Ecology & Conservation (Cornwall) at the University of Exeter, said: "This kind of genetic tussle is everywhere in biology. For example, in humans, male hips are optimised for physical activity, whereas female hips also need to allow child bearing. That's the sort of evolutionary conflict we're talking about, and these conflicts were previously thought to be resolved by sex-specific trait development. Source: Science Daily
This is very interesting and speaks volumes to why women seem to always win the battle of the sexes.
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