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Pleiotropy, "sexy" traits, and speciation


  • Kerry L. Shaw
  • Christopher K. Ellison
  • Kevin P. Oh
  • Chris Wiley


The evolution of mating signals and preferences assists speciation by facilitating assortative mating within diverging lineages, thereby closing down conduits of gene flow between lineages. However, sexual communication traits are frequently subject to stabilizing selection, suggesting that new variants will be selected against, thereby discouraging their divergent evolution. Pleiotropic mutations may assist the evolution of sexual communication systems by introducing genetic covariation to signal and preference traits. New data from a range of taxa and sensory modalities are challenging more traditional views on the general importance of pleiotropy in sexual signaling systems. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Kerry L. Shaw & Christopher K. Ellison & Kevin P. Oh & Chris Wiley, 2011. "Pleiotropy, "sexy" traits, and speciation," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 22(6), pages 1154-1155.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:6:p:1154-1155

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