Gamete-mediated mate choice: towards a more inclusive view of sexual selection

Jukka Kekalainen, Jonathan Evans

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33 Citations (Web of Science)


'Sperm competition' - where ejaculates from two or more males compete for fertilization - and 'cryptic female choice' - where females bias this contest to suit their reproductive interests - are now part of the everyday lexicon of sexual selection. Yet the physiological processes that underlie these post-ejaculatory episodes of sexual selection remain largely enigmatic. In this review, we focus on a range of post-ejaculatory cellular- and molecular-level processes, known to be fundamental for fertilization across most (if not all) sexually reproducing species, and point to their putative role in facilitating sexual selection at the level of the cells and gametes, called 'gamete-mediated mate choice' (GMMC). In this way, we collate accumulated evidence for GMMC across different mating systems, and emphasize the evolutionary significance of such non-random interactions among gametes. Our overall aim in this review is to build a more inclusive view of sexual selection by showing that mate choice often acts in more nuanced ways than has traditionally been assumed. We also aim to bridge the conceptual divide between proximal mechanisms of reproduction, and adaptive explanations for patterns of non-random sperm-egg interactions that are emerging across an increasingly diverse array of taxa. © 2018 The Author(s).
Original languageEnglish
Article number20180836
JournalProceedings of the Royal Society, B: Biological Sciences
Issue number20180836
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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