Evolutionary Ecology of the Prezygotic Stage

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Science  13 Feb 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5660, pp. 971-975
DOI: 10.1126/science.1092180

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The life cycles of sexually reproducing animals and flowering plants begin with male and female gametes and their fusion to form a zygote. Selection at this earliest stage is crucial for offspring quality and raises similar evolutionary issues, yet zoology and botany use dissimilar approaches. There are striking parallels in the role of prezygotic competition for sexual selection on males, cryptic female choice, sexual conflict, and against selfish genetic elements and genetic incompatibility. In both groups, understanding the evolution of sex-specific and reproductive traits will require an appreciation of the effects of prezygotic competition on fitness.

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