Cross-sex genetic correlation & SSD in spiders

Males and females are often subjected to different selection pressures for homologous traits, resulting in sex-specific optima. Because organismal attributes usually share their genetic architectures, sex-specific selection may lead to intralocus sexual conflict. Evolution of sexual dimorphism may resolve this conflict, depending on the degree of cross-sex genetic correlation (rMF) and the strength of sex-specific selection. In theory, high rMF implies that sexes largely share the genetic base for a given trait and are consequently sexually monomorphic, while low rMF indicates a sex-specific genetic base and sexual dimorphism. Here, we broadly test this hypothesis on three spider species with varying degrees of female-biased sexual size dimorphism, Larinioides sclopetarius (sexual dimorphism index, SDI = 0.85), Nuctenea umbratica (SDI = 0.60), and Zygiella x-notata (SDI = 0.46). We assess rMF via same-sex and opposite-sex heritability estimates. We find moderate body mass heritability but no obvious patterns in sex-specific heritability. Against the prediction, the degree of sexual size dimorphism is unrelated to the relative strength of same-sex versus opposite-sex heritability. Our results do not support the hypothesis that sexual size dimorphism is negatively associatedwith rMF.We conclude that sex-specific genetic architecture may not be necessary for the evolution of a sexually dimorphic trait.


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National Institute of Biology

Večna pot 111, Ljubljana, Slovenia

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Jovan Hadži Institute of Biology ZRC SAZU

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- Zagorica 20, Ig, Slovenia (loc. 1)

- Moša Pijade 22, Maribor, Slovenia (loc. 2)

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