Sexual Conflict via Maternal-Effect Genes in ZW Species

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Science  07 Apr 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5770, pp. 73
DOI: 10.1126/science.1123727

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In female heterogamous (ZW) species, sex-linked genes coding for maternal products that are packaged into the egg open a unique arena for genetic conflict that does not occur in male heterogamous (XY) species. Z-linked maternal-effect alleles that help sons and harm daughters are expected to go to fixation, as are W-linked alleles that help daughters and harm sons. This conflict differs from known cases of meiotic drive, because sex-specific ontogeny, physiology, and gene expression greatly simplify the genetic interactions that lead to sexual conflict. Selection on maternal-effect genes may substantially alter the evolution of ZW compared with XY systems.

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