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Understanding the maintenance of genetic variation in the face of selection remains a key issue in evolutionary biology. One potential mechanism for the maintenance of genetic variation is opposing selection during the diploid and haploid stages of biphasic life cycles universal among eukaryotic sexual organisms. If haploid and diploid gene expression both occur, selection can act in each phase, potentially in opposing directions. In addition, sex-specific selection during haploid phases is likely simply because male and female gametophytes/gametes tend to have contrasting life histories. We explored the potential for the maintenance of a stable polymorphism under ploidally antagonistic as well as sex-specific selection. Furthermore, we examined the role of the chromosomal location of alleles (autosomal or sex-linked). Our analyses show that the most permissible conditions for the maintenance of polymorphism occur under negative ploidy-by-sex interactions, where stronger selection for an allele in female than male diploids is coupled with weaker selection against the allele in female than male haploids. Such ploidy-by-sex interactions also promote allele frequency differences between the sexes. With constant fitness, ploidally antagonistic selection can maintain stable polymorphisms for autosomal and X-linked genes but not for Y-linked genes. We discuss the implications of our results and outline a number of biological settings where the scenarios modeled may apply.

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