The role of genotype-by-environment interactions in sexual selection

Authors


D. J. Hosken, Centre for Ecology & Conservation, School of Bioscience, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, Tremough, Penryn TR10 9EZ, UK. Tel.: +44 1326 371843; fax: +44 1326 253638; e-mail: d.j.hosken@exeter.ac.uk

Abstract

Genotype-by-environment interactions (GxEs) in naturally selected traits have been extensively studied, but the impact of GxEs on sexual selection has only recently begun to receive attention. Here, we review recent models and consider how GxEs might affect the evolution of sexual traits through influencing sexual signal reliability and also how GxEs may influence variation in sexually selected traits and the process of reproductive isolation. We then assess the current empirical literature on GxEs in sexual selection and conclude by highlighting areas that need additional work. Research on GxEs and sexual selection is an important new area of study for the discipline, which has largely focused on relatively simple mate choice/competition scenarios to date. Investigators now need to apply this knowledge to more complex, but realistic, situations, to more fully explore the evolution of sexual traits, and in this review we suggest potentially useful directions for future research.

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