Sex Determination, Sex Ratios And Genetic Conflict

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1998 Ann. Rev. Ecol. & Systematics 29:233-261
1Biology Department, University of Rochester, Rochester, N.Y. 14627 2Institute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, University of Leiden, NL-2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands

Genetic mechanisms of sex determination are unexpectedly diverse and change rapidly during evolution. We review the role of genetic conflict as the driving force behind this diversity and turnover. Genetic conflict occurs when different components of a genetic system are subject to selection in opposite directions. Conflict may occur between genomes (including paternalmaternal and parental-zygotic conflicts), or within genomes (between cytoplasmic and nuclear genes, or sex chromosomes and autosomes). The sex determining system consists of parental sex ratio genes, parental effect sex determiners and zygotic sex determiners, which are subject to different selection pressures due to differences in their modes of inheritance and expression. Genetic conflict theory is used to explain the evolution of several sex determining mechanisms including sex chromosome drive, cytoplasmic sex ratio distorters and cytoplasmic male sterility in plants. Although the evidence is still limited, the role of genetic conflict in sex determination evolution is gaining support.
Sex determining mechanisms are incredibly diverse in plants and animals. A brief summary of the diversity will illustrate the point. In hermaphroditic species both male (microgamete) and female (macrogamete) function reside within the same individual, whereas dioecious (or gonochoristic) species have separate sexes. Within these broad categories there is considerable diversity in the phenotypic and genetic mechanisms of sex determination. In dioecious species, various mechanisms exist, including haplodiploidy (males derived from haploid eggs, females from diploid eggs), paternal genome loss (sex determined by loss of paternal chromosomes after fertilization), male heterogamety (males with heteromorphic XY sex chromosomes and females with homomorphic XX), female heterogamety (ZW females and ZZ males), polygenic sex determination, environmental sex determination, and a variety of other mechanisms (reviewed in 20,228). Sex determination can even differ markedly within a species and between closely related species. For example, platyfish (Xiphophorus maculatus) can have either male heterogamety or female heterogamety (129). In addition, mechanisms that appear to be the same can differ markedly in the underlying genetics. For example, male heterogametic systems can be based upon dominant male determiners on the Y (e.g. in Mammals) or upon a genic balance between factors on the X and autosomes (e.g. Drosophila). Recent molecular studies have shown that genes involved in primary sex determination evolve rapidly (58, 141, 217) and that sex determining genes in one species may not be involved in sex determination in related species (82, 124).
In this diversity there lies a quandary. Although one would assume that such a basic aspect of development as sex determination would be highly stable in evolution, the opposite is the case. Sex determining mechanisms appear to be one of the most rapidly evolving developmental processes, and some genes involved in sex determination (e.g. SrY in mammals) show unusually fast sequence evolution (214, 229). The observation leads to two important evolutionary questions, “Why are sex determining mechanisms so diverse?” and “How do sex determining mechanisms change, i.e. how do transitions occur from one sex determining mechanism to another?”. Presumably, sex determining systems change when some factor (or factors) destabilize an existing sex determining mechanism, leading to the evolution of a new mechanism. Therefore, the question can be reformed to focus on factors that potentially

destabilize sex determining mechanisms and whether some features of sex determination make it inherently unstable over evolutionary time.
Genetic conflict In this review, we consider the role of genetic conflict in the evolution of sex determining systems. Genetic conflict occurs when different genetic elements within a genome are selected to “push” a phenotype in different directions. There are two basic forms of genetic conflict. Intragenomic conflict involves conflicting selective pressures between different genetic elements within an individual organism (e.g. between cytoplasmic genes and autosomal genes). Intergenomic conflict occurs between genetic elements in different individuals who interact over a particular phenotype. For example, in terms of sex determination there is potential conflict between maternally expressed sex determining genes and embryonically expressed genes.
Genetic conflict is an inherent feature of sex determining systems. For example, cytoplasmically inherited genetic elements (e.g. mitochondria, cytoplasmic microorganisms, plastids) are typically inherited through the egg cytoplasm, but not through sperm. As a result, these elements are selected to produce strongly female biased sex ratios, which increases their transmission to future generations (49, 65). In contrast, autosomal genes (those residing on nonsex chromosomes) are generally selected to produce a balance in the sex ratio (69). As a result, cytoplasmic and autosomal genes are selected to “push” sex determination in different directions. There is considerable evidence that conflict between autosomal and cytoplasmic “genes” is widespread (108, 219). Genetic conflict over sex determination can also occur between sex chromosome and autosomal genes, and between parental and offspring expressed genes. Coevolutionary interactions among these conflicting selective components may provide a “motor” for evolutionary change in sex determination.
We discuss various models for the evolution of sex determination, focusing on the potential role of genetic conflict. We argue that genetic conflict is the most likely general explanation for the diversity of sex determining mechanisms. However, although the evidence for its role in sex determination is mounting, unequivocal examples of genetic conflict causing evolutionary transitions in sex determination have yet to be made. In light of this, possible directions for future research are discussed.
The reader is also referred to excellent reviews on the diversity of sex determining mechanisms (20, 227, 228), sex ratio evolution (3, 35, 96, 220), somatic and germline sex determination in fruitflies (40,177, 200), vinegar worms (41, 99) and mammals (79, 103 124), sex determination in plants (81) and the evolution of heteromorphic sex chromosomes (30, 183).
BRIEF HISTORICAL SKETCH Genetic conflict The concept of “genetic conflict” is intimately associated with two closely related developments in evolutionary biology, the idea that selection operates on individual genetic elements rather than just upon the individual organism (“levels of selection”) and the observation that some genetic elements can be “selfish” or “parasitic”, i.e. gain a transmission advantage although they are detrimental to the organism in which they occur. The first publications on what is now known as the “intragenomic conflict” were theoretical studies by Lewis (139), who considered the fate of cytoplasmic male sterility genes in plants, and Howard (100), who investigated cytoplasmic factors causing all female families in animals. Both authors showed that

cytoplasmic factors producing female-biases can spread through a population, even though they may potentially cause extremely female biased sex ratios and population extinction. Thus, the idea of intragenomic conflict was associated with questions concerning sex determination from its very inception. However, the implications of these models to the then current views of natural selection were not widely recognized.
The botanist Östergen (171) was the first to recognize that selection may operate in different directions on different parts of the genome. In his studies on B chromosomes, he realized that these genetic elements were “parasitic”, and gained a transmission advantage relative to the rest of the “host’s” genome. This notion of contrasting selection on genetic elements at the genomic level within an organism is now known as ‘genomic conflict’ or ‘intragenomic conflict” (49). Intragenomic conflict is a special cases of the more general term ‘genetic conflict’. Although long opposed (163-165, 167), the idea that B chromosomes are selfish elements is now widely accepted (8, 126, 196, 225). The discovery of meiotic drive chromosomes (192) also stimulated consideration of the gene as the level of selection . Evolution of these systems could be understood by invoking conflicting selective pressures between the driving genes and unlinked repressors (145). In particular, driving sex chromosomes discovered in several species lead to genetic conflict over sex determination. Models have been developed concerning how selection operates on chromosomal sex ratio distorters and the rest of the genome (e.g. 66,89, 92, 118, 233).
The concept that selection operates at the level of the gene was given broad attention and gained wider acceptance through publication of “The Selfish Gene” (57). Cosmides and Tooby (49) introduced the term “intragenomic conflict” and published a comprehensive paper on the possible role of genomic conflict in a number of evolutionary processes including cytoplasmic inheritance, the evolution of anisogamy, the transition of hermaphroditism to dioecy and the evolution of sex and sex determination. Several earlier studies have addressed the role of genetic conflict in evolution (1, 13, 65, 98, 188). However, the idea that DNA could be “selfish” or parasitic” only started to receive wider attention through simultaneous publications by Doolittle and Sapienza (60) and Orgel and Crick (173), and an accumulating number of discoveries of ‘selfish” non-mendelian elements such as transposons, B chromosomes, and cytoplasmic sex ratio distorters. Werren et al (225) formerly defined selfish genetic elements and reviewed existing evidence.
The concept of genetic conflict is now widely accepted in evolutionary biology (e.g. 111, 149; reviewed in 113, 184). Recent theoretical and empirical work has focused on genetic conflict between cytoplasmic and autosomal sex ratio factors (50, 72, 94, 186, 190, 204, 219), conflict between sex chromosome drive factors and repressors of drive (87, 88, 231), the potential importance of genetic conflict in the evolution of sex (97, 111), and paternal-maternal genome conflict over allocation of resources to progeny (86). Although the evidence of its importance is mounting, the role of genetic conflict in evolution remains to be established for many phenomena.
Sex determination An important early development in the study of sex determination was the discovery of sex chromosomes (95) and development of the theory of heterogametic sex determination (151). Subsequent research focused on the basic mechanisms of sex determination in a wide range of organisms (reviewed by 56, 228), and revealed considerable diversity. Detailed genetic studies

of sex determination were limited to a few organisms, most notably Drosophila melanogaster, which has male heterogamety (XY males, XX females). In ‘genic balance’ systems, sex depends on a balance female-determining factors on the X chromosome and male determining factors on the autosomes. This system was uncovered in early genetic experiments by Bridges (15) who varied the number of X chromosomes in Drosophila and suggested that sex in Drosophila is determined by the ratio between X chromosomes and sets of autosomes. In ‘dominant Y’ systems (e.g. in some mammals), there is a dominant male determiner present on the Y chromosome. Bull (20), in a comprehensive treatise of the evolution of sex determining mechanisms, considered possible transitions between different sex determining systems. Evolution of sex chromosomes and heterogamety has also been considered (21, 23, 29, 30, 183).
At present, the molecular regulation of sex determination is known in detail from only a few organisms, including the house mouse (Mus), the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster and the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans (reviews by 99, 200). These systems serve as a basis for comparisons with other systems, e.g., several dipteran species. However, it is difficult to extrapolate on the evolutionary changes leading to the differences between these species, due to their phylogenetic distance.
Complementary to studies of sex determination, there is an extensive theoretical and empirical literature on the evolution of sex ratios (35, 42, 77, 89, 96, 138, 220, 232). However, most of these studies have focused on how selection acts upon the parent to manipulate sex ratio of offspring under different circumstances. Very few studies have considered the coevolutionary interactions between sex ratio genes acting in the parent and sex determination genes acting within the zygote (but see 22).
CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK The Sex Determining System Sex ratio selection is the underlying force shaping the evolution of sex determining systems (20). Sex ratio selection basically concerns the transmission success of genetic factors through male function (sperm or pollen) versus female function (eggs or ovules). When a particular genetic element has higher transmission through one sexual function than the other, then selection will favor variants of that element that bias sex ratio (or sex determination) towards the transmitting sex.
To understand the evolution of sex determination, it is necessary to consider how selection acts upon each of components of the overall “sex determining system”. This system consists not only of the genes acting within an individual to determine its sex, but also genes acting within the parents that influence either sex ratio or sex determination (Figure 1). Components of the sex determining system can be further categorized based upon their mode of inheritance. The mode of inheritance of a genetic element has a major influence on how sex ratio selection acts upon it. This is obvious, for instance, for cytoplasmically inherited elements. Due to uniparental transmission through females, cytoplasmic factors are subject to strong selection to bias sex ratios and sex determination towards females. Similarly, selection will act differently on sex chromosome genes than on autosomes. It is the interactions among the different components of the sex determining system that causes evolution of sex determination.
Classically, genetic studies of sex determination have focused on genes that act within the developing zygote to influence its sex. However, the evolution of sex determination is not only influenced by selection acting on genes in the zygotic sex determining pathway, but also genes

acting within the parents to determine the sex ratio among progeny. Based upon this dichotomy, Werren (219) defined two broad categories of genes that influence sex determination, sex ratio genes, which are genes that act within the parent to influence the sex ratio among its progeny, and sex determination genes, which are genes that act within the developing zygote to influence its sex. However, there is a third intermediate category that needs to be considered, parental effect sex determiners. Parental effect sex determiners are genes that are expressed in the parent (i.e. dependent upon parental genotype) but that act in the developing zygote to influence sex. For example, maternal effect sex determining genes have been described in Drosophila melanogaster (39, 200) and Musca domestica (116). In addition, maternal effect sex determining genes occur in species demonstrating monogeny (e.g. Chrysomya, 215) and in coccids that show paternal genome loss early in development (20, 166-168, 169). These three categories are briefly discussed below and examples are given in Table 1.
PARENTAL SEX RATIO GENES: Parental influences over sex ratio occur in a broad range of species. One category of parental sex ratio genes are those causing sex chromosome meiotic drive. Sex chromosome drive is a parental phenotype that alters the ratio functional X and Y (or Z and W) bearing gametes, but does not directly affect the zygotic sex determining mechanism. X-chromosome drive has been documented in a wide range of species with male heterogamety, including fruitflies, mosquitoes, and lemmings (see below). Parental influences on sex ratio are common in haplodiploid insects. In haplodiploids, females manipulate the sex ratio among progeny by altering the probabilities that the egg is fertilized (77). Unfertilized eggs develop into males and fertilized eggs develop into females. Genetic variation for fertilization proportion has been documented in some species (174) and is inferred in many others (77). Another mechanism of parental effects on sex ratio selection is differential allocation of resources to male and female progeny. By allocating more resources to offspring of one sex (e.g. males) parental phenotypes could alter selection acting upon zygotic sex determiners. In species with environmental sex determination, the parent can influence sex among progeny by selectivity in oviposition sites, as shown in terrapins (187) and western painted turtle (120). This, in turn, will affect how selection operates upon environmental sex determining genes expressed in the zygote. Recent studies have shown that some birds (e.g. the Seychelles warbler, 134) alter sex ratio among progeny based upon available resources. This is due to either preferential segregation of Z or W chromosomes during meiosis (a parental sex ratio affect) or to maternal modification of zygotic sex determination (see below).
2. PARENTAL EFFECT SEX DETERMINERS: As described, parental effect sex determiners are expressed in the parent (i.e. are dependent upon the genotype of the parent), but act in the zygote to determine its sex. Functionally, these genes are similar to zygotic sex determiners because they act within the developing zygote to determine its sex. However, in terms of selection, parental effect sex determining genes are subject to the same selection pressures as sex ratio genes because they are expressed in the parent and dependent upon parental genotype. Parental effect genes can be either maternal effect or paternal effect sex determiners. Examples of both types are presented in Table 1.
Most maternal effects are due to maternal products (e.g. mRNA or proteins) placed in the developing egg. Maternal effects are typically important in early development because in most organisms the zygotic genotype is not expressed during early mitotic divisions, and the process is

therefore dependent upon products placed in the eggs. This creates the situation where gene products placed in the egg by the mother could have major effects on sex determination in the developing zygote. Molecular genetic studies of sex determination have revealed several interesting maternal effects. In Drosophila melanogaster, daughterless (da) is a maternal effect nuclear gene that produces a transcription factor involved in sex determination (39, 200). A maternal specific da gene transcript is placed in eggs (prior to meiosis), and therefore presence of da product is dependent upon the maternal genotype. However, action of the maternal da product occurs during early development of the zygote (after meiosis), where the transcribed protein activates the Sex-lethal gene (Sxl), resulting in female development. Similar maternal effects on zygotic sex determination have been detected in the flies Musca domestica (116) and Chrysomya rufifacies (215). Nur (166) modelled maternal control of sex determination.
Evidence for paternal effect sex determiners is sparse. One example appears to be the paternal sex ratio chromosome (psr), which occurs in the parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis (170, 221). Normally these wasps “control” the sex among their progeny by either fertilizing eggs (diploid female progeny) or withholding fertilization (haploid male progeny). The psr chromosome is a supernumerary (B) chromosome present in some males. After fertilization of the egg by psr-bearing sperm, the paternal chromosomes (except psr) fail to condense properly in the first mitotic division, and are eventually lost. This “haploidizes” the fertilized egg, causing it to develop into a male. Indirect evidence suggests that psr acts during spermatogenesis to modify the developing sperm, although its expression occurs in the fertilized egg (12). Although there are few current examples of paternal effect sex determiners, they may be more common than appreciated. One mechanism could be paternal imprinting of sex determining genes, thus influencing their expression in the developing zygote (157, 161). Differential parental imprinting has been proposed as a possible mechanism for complementary sex determination (CSD) in haplodiploid insects (9). The extent to which paternal and maternal effect sex determiners have evolved will partly depend on whether divergent selective pressures occur on parental versus zygote sex determining genes.
3. ZYGOTIC SEX DETERMINERS: Studies of sex determination classically consider genes acting in the zygote to determine its sex. For most organisms, sex is determined early in development. Examples of zygotic sex determiners include SrY in mice and humans (79). Sex Lethal in Drosophila melanogaster (200) and the xol and sdc genes in Caenorhabditis elegans (99). In both D. melanogaster and C. elegans, the “primary” sex determining signal is the X:A ratio. Multiple X numerator elements are present on the X chromosome and a regulatory cascade involving several genes determines somatic sex (99). The evolution of X:A systems appears to be associated with the evolution of dosage compensation. An unresolved evolutionary question is how X:A sex determination evolved from an ancestral state presumably involving a major sex determiner on a nascent sex chromosome. In other words, why does the system evolve from a major effect gene to multiple female determining elements on the X and male determiners on the autosomes? Wilkins (230) proposes, based on the molecular genetic structure of these systems, that C. elegans and D. melanogaster sex determination evolved by a sequential addition of genetic switches, each reversing sex determination of the previous. He further proposes that the process was driven by frequency dependent sex ratio selection. The model is consistent with strong sex ratio selection induced by genetic conflict, or by other mechanisms (see below)

This contrasts to the dominant male determiner in mice and humans (SrY), although it is still unclear whether SrY is the primary signal, or other signals induce the SrY testis determining cascade (124).
4. OTHER DEFINITIONS: In addition, the terminology below will be useful for considering genetic conflict over sex determination. 1. sex ratio distorters: non-mendelian elements (meiotic drive chromosomes, cytoplasmically inherited organelles and microorganisms, supernumerary B chromosomes) that alter parental sex ratios or zygotic sex determination. 2. repressors & enhancers: genetic modifiers that either increase (enhance) or reduce (repress) phenotypic expression of a sex ratio gene, sex determining gene or sex ratio distorter. 3. resistance genes: for microbial sex ratio distorters, these are “host” genetic modifiers that reduce or eliminate the infection or reduce transmission of the infection. 4. restorer genes: modifiers that suppress a sex ratio distorter, restoring sex determination to the background state. Suppressor, repressor and restorer are used synonymously. 5. compensatory genes: genes that, in populations polymorphic for a sex ratio distorter, cause a compensatory shift in sex ratio or sex determination in individuals without the distorting element.
Genetic Conflict over Sex Determination Genetic conflict will occur when the different components of the sex determining system are selected to “push” zygotic sex determination or parental sex ratios in different directions. Given the apparently divergent selective pressures acting upon genes with different inheritance patterns (cytoplasmic, autosomal and sex chromosomal) and site of expression (maternal, paternal and zygotic), genetic conflict appears to be an inherent feature of sex determining systems. Here we list the general “arenas” of conflict over sex determination and sex ratios.
1. CYTO-NUCLEAR CONFLICT: Conflict between cytoplasmic and nuclear genes over sex determination and sex ratios is obvious, and appears to be common and widespread. Many cytoplasmic sex ratio distorters are microorganisms that are transmitted through the egg cytoplasm, but not through sperm (reviewed in 108). In plants, cyto-nuclear conflict has been documented between maternally inherited organelles inducing cytoplasmic male sterility and autosomal suppressors of CMS (reviewed in 44, 190). In the absence of suppression or other counterbalancing forces, cytoplasmic sex ratio distorters can spread to or near fixation, potentially driving the population (and species) to extinction (100, 204). Cyto-nuclear conflict is discussed in more detail below.
2. SEX CHROMOSOME DRIVE & B CHROMOSOME DRIVE CONFLICT: Sex chromosome drive is just one manifestation of selection favoring meiotic drive loci, which also occur on autosomes (reviewed in 144). However, the sex ratio distortion resulting from it can create intense sex ratio selection. There is considerable evidence that X-chromosome drive selects for repressors on the Y chromosome and autosomes (see below). In species with recombination on the sex chromosomes, selection on linked genes can either favor enhancement of drive or suppression of drive, depending upon how tightly linked the gene is and whether linkage disequilibria are

maintained (233). However, the possibility that X-drive induced sex ratio distortion favors compensatory shifts in zygotic sex determination (or maternal affect sex determiners) has not been extensively explored.
Genetic conflict is also expected between Y-drivers, and the X and autosomes. Interestingly, there is a concordance in the “genetic interests” of W-driving chromosomes and cytoplasmic factors in female heterogametic species (ZW females), but not between X-drivers and cytoplasmic factors in male heterogametic species (XY males). Sex chromosome drive can also potentially cause population extinction (89, 142, 143).
B chromosomes are supernumerary chromosomes that occur in a wide range of species (126). Many B chromosomes are “parasitic” genetic elements which have an increased transmission in gametes (transmission drive), thus maintaining the chromosomes within populations despite the fitness costs they impose on the “host” (164, 167). In many cases, transmission of B’s through males and females (or male and female function in hermaphrodites) is asymmetric. Under this circumstance, selection is expected to lead to the accumulation of sex ratio and sex determining genes that bias sex towards the transmitting sex. However, detailed studies in a few coccid species with biased transmission of B chromosomes have failed to show an affect of B on sex determination (Nur, pers. com.). There is one striking example of a sex ratio distorting B chromosome - the psr chromosome in Nasonia vitripennis. N. vitripennis is a haplodiploid parasitic wasp - males normally develop from unfertilized (haploid) eggs and females from fertilized (diploid) eggs. Males with the psr B chromosome produce functional sperm, but following fertilization, the paternal chromosomes (except psr) form a chromatin mass and fail to participate in subsequent mitotic divisions. The psr chromosome is transmitted to the zygote, which develops as a (haploid) male due to loss of the other paternal chromosomes (170, 221). Subsequent work has shown that conversion of females to males is selectively advantageous for the B chromosome because it has high transmission through male (mitotic) gametogenesis but low transmission through female (meiotic) gametogenesis. Hunter et al (102) and Stouthamer (pers. com.) have also discovered paternally transmitted non-mendelian elements that cause male-biased sex ratios, but the causative agents have not yet been determined.
3. PARENT-OFFSPRING CONFLICT: Trivers (211) originally formulated the idea that parents and offspring can have divergent “genetic interests” due to the fact that they are genetically related but not genetically identical. Studies of parent-offspring conflict usually concern conflict over the amount of resources allocated to offspring. However, Trivers and Hare (212) proposed that Queen-Worker conflict occurs over sex ratios in social insects (workers are typically the offspring of the queen). Empirical studies now strongly support that such conflict exists (203).
The role of parent-offspring conflict (or more appropriately parental gene-zygotic gene conflict) over sex determination has not been widely considered. Given the growing evidence for maternal effect sex determining genes, this possibility needs to be considered more thoroughly. There are two situations where maternal gene-zygotic gene sex determination conflict is likely (a) when fitness costs to a parent of a son and daughter differs and (b) under partial inbreeding or local mate competition. When one sex is more costly to the parent to produce the other, natural selection will favor the parent to overproduce the less costly sex (69). However, selection acting on the zygote will generally favor a more balanced sex ratio. This is particularly true when the cost to the mother is in terms of future survival and reproduction. For example, in red deer (Cervus elaphus), producing a male is more reproductively costly to the mother than producing a

daughter, and the mother often fails to reproduce in the year following a male birth (43). Under these circumstances, genetic conflict theory predicts that maternal effect sex determiners will push the sex determination towards the less expensive sex and zygotic sex determiners will push sex determination towards a reduced bias. The dynamics of this interaction have not been explored theoretically. Depending upon the mating system, paternal effect sex determiners will either have “genetic interests” more concordant with zygotic or maternal genes.
Under partial inbreeding or local mate competition, maternal effect genes will be selected to produce a more female-biased sex ratio. Zygotic effect sex determiners will also be selected to produce a female bias, but the equilibrium ratio should be less biased for these genes due to asymmetries in genetic relatedness. The result will be conflicting selective pressures. A possible outcome would be the accumulation of maternal modifiers and zygotic modifiers pushing in opposite directions. Again, the interacting system has not been explored theoretically. Conflict also clearly occurs between parental sex chromosome drivers and zygotic sex determining genes. In principle, the sex ratio distortion resulting from driving sex chromosomes should lead to compensatory shifts in sex determination to the underrepresented sex.
4. MATERNAL-PATERNAL CONFLICT: Interest has primarily focused on intragenomic conflict between maternally derived and paternally derived genes over resource allocation to developing zygotes and on intergenomic male-female conflict over female reproductive effort (85, 86). Nevertheless, there are some interesting applications to sex determination evolution. Brown (16) and Bull (18, 20) have shown that maternal gene - paternal gene conflict can lead to the evolution of paternal genome loss and haplodiploid sex determination. Basically, there is a selective advantage to maternal genes that “eliminate” the paternal genome. The selective advantage (termed the automatic frequency response by Brown) results from a higher maternal genome transmission in the next generation through haploid males relative to through diploid males (i.e. no reduction due to meiosis). The advantage accrues so long as haploid males have a greater than ½ fitness of diploid males.
In addition, intergenomic maternal-paternal conflict clearly occurs in species with haplodiploid and paternal genome loss sex determination (88). In haplodiploids, males are under selection to increase the proportion fertilized eggs (proportion females) produced by their mates. However, it is unclear what opportunities are available to males for affecting female sex ratios. In paternal genome loss systems (e.g. coccids, 16, 101, 168, 169), paternal genes will be selected to escape or suppress paternal genome loss. Some supernumerary chromosomes have evolved escape mechanisms from paternal genome loss, such as in the mealy bug (162) and the flatworm Polycelis nigra (10).
Alternative Models For Sex Determination Evolution From the discussion above, it should be apparent that genetic conflict is an inherent
feature of sex determining systems. However, a number of models have been proposed for the evolution of sex determination, besides that of genetic conflict. Here we briefly review some models currently in the literature. The focus is on factors that destabilize sex determining systems, causing evolutionary transitions in the sex determining mechanism.
1. TRANSIENT COVARIANCE OF FITNESS AND SEX (HITCHIKING): Bull (20) has proposed that transient linkage disequilibrium between sex determining alleles and genes under strong positive

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Sex Determination, Sex Ratios And Genetic Conflict