Female and male genetic effects on offspring paternity: additive genetic (co)variances in female extra-pair reproduction and male paternity success in song sparrows (Melospiza melodia)

  • Jane Reid (Contributor)
  • Peter Arcese (Contributor)
  • Lukas F. Keller (Contributor)
  • Sylvain Losdat (Contributor)



AbstractOngoing evolution of polyandry, and consequent extra-pair reproduction in socially monogamous systems, is hypothesised to be facilitated by indirect selection stemming from cross-sex genetic covariances with components of male fitness. Specifically, polyandry is hypothesised to create positive genetic covariance with male paternity success due to inevitable assortative reproduction, driving ongoing coevolution. However, it remains unclear whether such covariances could or do emerge within complex polyandrous systems. First, we illustrate that genetic covariances between female extra-pair reproduction and male within-pair paternity success might be constrained in socially monogamous systems where female and male additive genetic effects can have opposing impacts on the paternity of jointly reared offspring. Second, we demonstrate non-zero additive genetic variance in female liability for extra-pair reproduction and male liability for within-pair paternity success, modelled as direct and associative genetic effects on offspring paternity respectively, in free-living song sparrows (Melospiza melodia). The posterior mean additive genetic covariance between these liabilities was slightly positive, but the credible interval was wide and overlapped zero. Therefore, while substantial total additive genetic variance exists, the hypothesis that ongoing evolution of female extra-pair reproduction is facilitated by genetic covariance with male within-pair paternity success cannot yet be definitively supported or rejected either conceptually or empirically.
Date made available1 Jan 2021
PublisherScholars Portal Dataverse

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