Hitchcock TJ & Gardner A (2020) A gene’s-eye view of sexual antagonism. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B — Biological Sciences 287, 20201633.
Females and males may face different selection pressures. Accordingly, alleles that confer a benefit for one sex often incur a cost for the other. Classic evolutionary theory holds that the X chromosome, whose sex-biased transmission sees it spending more time in females, should value females more than males, whereas autosomes, whose transmission is unbiased, should value both sexes equally. However, recent mathematical and empirical studies indicate that male-beneficial alleles may be more favoured by the X chromosome than by autosomes. Here we develop a gene’s-eye-view approach that reconciles the classic view with these recent discordant results, by separating a gene’s valuation of female versus male fitness from its ability to induce fitness effects in either sex. We use this framework to generate new comparative predictions for sexually antagonistic evolution in relation to dosage compensation, sex-specific mortality and assortative mating, revealing how molecular mechanisms, ecology and demography drive variation in masculinization versus feminization across the genome.