No amicable divorce? Challenging the notion that sexual antagonism drives sex chromosome evolution

Authors

  • Joseph E. Ironside

    Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, UK
    • Institute of Biological, Environmental and Rural Sciences, Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, UK.
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Abstract

Although sexual antagonism may have played a role in forming some sex chromosome systems, there appears to be little empirical or theoretical justification in assuming that it is the driving force in all cases of sex chromosome evolution. In many species, sex chromosomes have diverged in size and shape through the accumulation of mutations in regions of suppressed recombination. It is commonly assumed that recombination is suppressed in sex chromosomes due to selection to resolve sexually antagonistic pleiotropy. However, the requirement for a sex chromosome-specific mechanism for suppressing recombination is questionable, since more general models of recombination suppression on autosomes also appear to be applicable to sex chromosomes. Direct tests of the predictions of the sexual antagonism hypothesis offer only limited support in specific sex chromosome systems and circumstantial evidence remains open to interpretation.

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