• Dominance;
  • genetic variation;
  • pleiotropy;
  • polymorphism;
  • sex linkage;
  • sexual conflict

Antagonistically selected alleles-–those with opposing fitness effects between sexes, environments, or fitness components-–represent an important component of additive genetic variance in fitness-related traits, with stably balanced polymorphisms often hypothesized to contribute to observed quantitative genetic variation. Balancing selection hypotheses imply that intermediate-frequency alleles disproportionately contribute to genetic variance of life-history traits and fitness. Such alleles may also associate with population genetic footprints of recent selection, including reduced genetic diversity and inflated linkage disequilibrium at linked, neutral sites. Here, we compare the evolutionary dynamics of different balancing selection models, and characterize the evolutionary timescale and hitchhiking effects of partial selective sweeps generated under antagonistic versus nonantagonistic (e.g., overdominant and frequency-dependent selection) processes. We show that the evolutionary timescales of partial sweeps tend to be much longer, and hitchhiking effects are drastically weaker, under scenarios of antagonistic selection. These results predict an interesting mismatch between molecular population genetic and quantitative genetic patterns of variation. Balanced, antagonistically selected alleles are expected to contribute more to additive genetic variance for fitness than alleles maintained by classic, nonantagonistic mechanisms. Nevertheless, classical mechanisms of balancing selection are much more likely to generate strong population genetic signatures of recent balancing selection.