Consequences of sex change for effective population size
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Consequences of sex change for effective population size
  • Published Date:

    2018

  • Source:
    Proc Biol Sci. 2018 Dec 19;285(1893):20181702.
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  • Description:
    Sequential hermaphroditism, where males change to females (protandry) or the reverse (protogyny), is widespread in animals and plants, and can be an evolutionarily stable strategy (ESS) if fecundity rises faster with age in the second sex. Sequential hermaphrodites also generally have sex ratios skewed towards the initial sex, and standard theory based on fixed sexes indicates that this should reduce effective population size ( Ne) and increase the deleterious effects of genetic drift. We show that despite having skewed sex ratios, populations that change sex at the ESS age do not have reduced Ne compared with fixed-sex populations with an even sex ratio. This implies that the ability of individuals to operate as both male and female allows the population to avoid some evolutionary constraints imposed by fixed sexes. Furthermore, Ne would be maximized if sex change occurred at a different (generally earlier) age than is selected for at the individual level, which suggests a potential conflict between individual and group selection. We also develop a novel method to quantify the strength of selection for sex reversal.
  • Pubmed ID:
    30963897
  • Pubmed Central ID:
    PMC6304039
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