Sexual selection and the evolution of gamete recognition proteins in sea urchins
By Don Levitan.
Gamete recognition proteins can evolve at astonishing rates and lie at the heart of reproductive isolation and speciation in diverse taxa. However, the source of selection driving this evolution remains unknown. I will discuss how the sperm bindin genotype influences reproductive success under natural conditions. An interaction between genotype frequency and spawning density determines how sperm bindin genotype influences reproductive success. Common genotypes are selected under sperm-limited conditions while rare genotypes are selected under conditions of intense sperm competition and sexual conflict. Variation in the evolutionary rates of bindin may reflect historic differences in sperm availability.
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