Sex-biased dispersal promotes adaptive parental effects

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Background. In heterogeneous environments, sex-biased dispersal could lead to environmental adaptive parental effects, with offspring selected to perform in the same way as the parent dispersing least, because this parent is more likely to be locally adapted. We investigate this hypothesis by simulating varying levels of sex-biased dispersal in a patchy environment. The relative advantage of a strategy involving pure maternal (or paternal) inheritance is then compared with a strategy involving classical biparental inheritance in plants and in animals. Results. We find that the advantage of the uniparental strategy over the biparental strategy is maximal when dispersal is more strongly sex-biased and when dispersal distances of the least mobile sex are much lower than the size of the environmental patches. In plants, only maternal effects can be selected for, in contrast to animals where the evolution of either paternal or maternal effects can be favoured. Moreover, the conditions for environmental adaptive maternal effects to be selected for are more easily fulfilled in plants than in animals. Conclusions. The study suggests that sex-biased dispersal can help predict the direction and magnitude of environmental adaptive parental effects. However, this depends on the scale of dispersal relative to that of the environment and on the existence of appropriate mechanisms of transmission of environmentally induced traits. © 2010 Revardel et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.




Revardel, E., Franc, A., & Petit, R. J. (2010). Sex-biased dispersal promotes adaptive parental effects. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 10(1).

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