Cryptic Sex-Ratio Bias Provides Indirect Genetic Benefits Despite Sexual Conflict

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Science  04 Mar 2010:
DOI: 10.1126/science.1185550


When selection favors sexual dimorphism, high-fitness parents often produce low-fitness progeny of the opposite sex. This sexual conflict is thought to overwhelm the genetic benefits of mate choice because preferred males incur a cost through the production of low-fitness daughters. We provide a counterpoint in a lizard that exhibits sexual conflict over body size. Using mate-choice experiments, we show that female brown anoles (Anolis sagrei) produce more sons than daughters via large sires, but more daughters than sons via small sires. Measures of progeny fitness in the wild suggest that maximal fitness payoffs can be achieved by shifting offspring production from daughters to sons as sire size increases. These results illustrate how the resolution of sexual conflict can restore the genetic benefits of mate choice.