Sexual selection can remove an experimentally induced mutation load

Maria Almbro, Leigh Simmons

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    45 Citations (Scopus)
    302 Downloads (Pure)


    Sexual selection is argued to be important for the removal of deleterious mutations, promoting population fitness, accelerating adaptation, and compensating for the two-fold cost of sex. Here we induced mutations in the dung beetle Onthophagus taurus using ionizing radiation, and tested the efficacy of sexual selection in their removal. Mutations reduced male precopulatory (strength) and postcopulatory (testes mass) sexual traits. Two generations of sexual selection were sufficient to remove mutations that affected male strength, but not testes mass. Induced mutations did not affect female productivity, which was elevated by sexual selection. Our results provide empirical support for the hypothesis that condition-dependent traits offer a large target for mutational variation, and that sexual selection can purge the genome of deleterious mutations and promote population fitness. © 2013 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)295-300
    Number of pages6
    Issue number1
    Early online date6 Sept 2013
    Publication statusPublished - 23 Dec 2013


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