The sociobiology of sex: inclusive fitness consequences of inter-sexual interactions

Tommaso Pizzari*, Andy Gardner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The diversity of social interactions between sexual partners has long captivated biologists, and its evolution has been interpreted largely in terms of 'direct fitness' pay-offs to partners and their descendants. Inter-sexual interactions also have 'indirect effects' by affecting the fitness of relatives, with important consequences for inclusive fitness. However, inclusive fitness arguments have received limited consideration in this context, and definitions of 'direct' and 'indirect' fitness effects in this field are often inconsistent with those of inclusive fitness theory. Here, we use a sociobiology approach based on inclusive fitness theory to distinguish between direct and indirect fitness effects. We first consider direct effects: we review how competition leads to sexual conflict, and discuss the conditions under which repression of competition fosters sexual mutualism. We then clarify indirect effects, and show that greenbeard effects, kin recognition and population viscosity can all lead to episodes of indirect selection on sexual interactions creating potential for sexual altruism and spite. We argue that the integration of direct and indirect fitness effects within a sociobiology approach enables us to consider a more diverse spectrum of evolutionary outcomes of sexual interactions, and may help resolving current debates over sexual selection and sexual conflict.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2314-2323
Number of pages10
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society. B, Biological Sciences
Volume367
Issue number1600
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 19 Aug 2012

Keywords

  • sexual selection
  • kin selection
  • sexual conflict
  • greenbeard
  • Fisherian runaway
  • MATE CHOICE
  • KIN SELECTION
  • POPULATION-STRUCTURE
  • VISCOUS POPULATIONS
  • SPERM COMPETITION
  • ANIMAL SOCIETIES
  • MATING-BEHAVIOR
  • REDBACK SPIDERS
  • HARMFUL MALES
  • EVOLUTION

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