Sexual selection studies: A NESCent catalyst meeting

J. Roughgarden, E. Adkins-Regan, E. Akcay, C.A. Hinde, T. Hoquet, C. O'Connor, Z.M. Prokop, R.O. Prum, S. Shafir, S.S. Snow, D. Taylor, J. Van Cleve, M. Weisberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademic


A catalyst meeting on sexual selection studies was held in July 2013 at the facilities of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent) in Durham, NC. This article by a subcommittee of the participants foregrounds some of the topics discussed at the meeting. Topics mentioned here include the relevance of heritability estimates to assessing the presence of sexual selection, whether sexual selection is distinct from natural selection, and the utility of distinguishing sexual selection from fecundity selection. A possible definition of sexual selection is offered based on a distinction between sexual selection as a frequency-dependent process and fecundity selection as a density-dependent process. Another topic highlighted is a deep disagreement among participants in the reality of good-genes, sexy-sons, and run-away processes. Finally, the status of conflict in political-economic theory is contrasted with the status accorded to conflict in evolutionary behavioral theory, and the professional responsibility of sexual-selection workers to consider the ethical dimension of their research is underscored.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere680v3
Number of pages15
JournalPeerJ PrePrints
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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