Signatures of Sex-Antagonistic Selection on Recombining Sex Chromosomes
Mark Kirkpatrick, Rafael F. Guerrero


Sex-antagonistic (SA) selection has major evolutionary consequences: it can drive genomic change, constrain adaptation, and maintain genetic variation for fitness. The recombining (or pseudoautosomal) regions of sex chromosomes are a promising setting in which to study SA selection because they tend to accumulate SA polymorphisms and because recombination allows us to deploy the tools of molecular evolution to locate targets of SA selection and quantify evolutionary forces. Here we use coalescent models to characterize the patterns of polymorphism expected within and divergence between recombining X and Y (or Z and W) sex chromosomes. SA selection generates peaks of divergence between X and Y that can extend substantial distances away from the targets of selection. Linkage disequilibrium between neutral sites is also inflated. We show how the pattern of divergence is altered when the SA polymorphism or the sex-determining region was recently established. We use data from the flowering plant Silene latifolia to illustrate how the strength of SA selection might be quantified using molecular data from recombining sex chromosomes.

  • Received August 2, 2013.
  • Accepted February 26, 2014.
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