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The evolution of infertility: does hatching rate in birds coevolve with female polyandry?

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 12:09 authored by Ted Morrow, G Arnqvist, T E Pitcher
Natural levels of infertility in many taxa are often remarkably high, amounting to a considerable fitness cost which one expects to be minimized by natural selection. Several mechanisms have been proposed as potential causes of infertility, including inbreeding depression, genetic incompatibilities and selfish genetic elements. Infertility may also be an inherent result of conflict over fertilization between the sexes in polyandrous species, either because too many sperm enter the egg or because of over-efficient barriers to such polyspermic fertilizations. We generated phylogenetic independent contrasts to examine the variation in hatching success for a maximum of 58 species of birds in relation to two measures of female polyandry. Hatching success varied enormously across species (range: 61–100%), with a mean of 12% of eggs failing to hatch, but was not related to either the rate of extrapair paternity or to relative testes size. Thus, the causes of this significant fitness cost remains unclear and merits further examination by evolutionary biologists

History

Publication status

  • Published

Journal

Journal of Evolutionary Biology

ISSN

1010-061X

Publisher

Wiley

Issue

5

Volume

15

Page range

702-709

Department affiliated with

  • Evolution, Behaviour and Environment Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

Legacy Posted Date

2012-11-12

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    University of Sussex (Publications)

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