Innocenti P, Morrow EH
PLoS Biol. 8 (3) e1000335 [2010-03-16; online 2010-03-16]
When selective pressures differ between males and females, the genes experiencing these conflicting evolutionary forces are said to be sexually antagonistic. Although the phenotypic effect of these genes has been documented in both wild and laboratory populations, their identity, number, and location remains unknown. Here, by combining data on sex-specific fitness and genome-wide transcript abundance in a quantitative genetic framework, we identified a group of candidate genes experiencing sexually antagonistic selection in the adult, which correspond to 8% of Drosophila melanogaster genes. As predicted, the X chromosome is enriched for these genes, but surprisingly they represent only a small proportion of the total number of sex-biased transcripts, indicating that the latter is a poor predictor of sexual antagonism. Furthermore, the majority of genes whose expression profiles showed a significant relationship with either male or female adult fitness are also sexually antagonistic. These results provide a first insight into the genetic basis of intralocus sexual conflict and indicate that genetic variation for fitness is dominated and maintained by sexual antagonism, potentially neutralizing any indirect genetic benefits of sexual selection.