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Encyclopedia > Sexual conflict

Sexual conflict is a form of evolutionary conflict where males and females share different interests. This article is about biological evolution. ... Conflict is a state of opposition, disagreement or incompatibility between two or more people or groups of people, which is sometimes characterized by physical violence. ...

This can be in two forms:

1) interlocus sexual conflict, where male alleles having conflicting interests with females. This can be in the form of conflict over parental care, where males are more prone to abandon offspring. Another form is sexual harassment, where males harm females to gain access to matings, such as when toxins are released in sperm by male Drosophila melanogaster. Binomial name Drosophila melanogaster Meigen, 1830 Drosophila melanogaster (from the Greek for black-bellied dew-lover) is a dipteran (two-winged) insect, and is the species of fruit fly that is most commonly used in genetic experiments; it is among the most important model organisms. ...

2) intralocus sexual conflict, where the same set of alleles in males and females have different optima. i.e. they are expressed differently in the sexes. A classic example is the human hip, where females need larger hips for childbirth. Optima is the name of a typeface designed by Hermann Zapf between 1952-1955. ... Bones of the Hip In anatomy, the hip is the bony projection of the femur, known as the greater trochanter, and the overlying muscle and fat. ...

Some regard sexual conflict as a subset of sexual selection, while others suggest it is a separate evolutionary phenomena. Illustration from The Descent of Man and Selection in Relation to Sex by Charles Darwin showing the Tufted Coquette Lophornis ornatus, female on left, ornamented male on right. ...

External Links

  • Intralocus Sexual Conflict Diminishes the Benefits of Sexual Selection


  • Arnqvist, G. & Rowe, L. (2005) Sexual conflict. Princeton University Press, Princeton



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