Partitioning of resources: the evolutionary genetics of sexual conflict over resource allocation

Felix Zajitschek, Tim Connallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Fitness depends on both the resources that individuals acquire and the allocation of those resources to traits that influence survival and reproduction. Optimal resource allocation differs between females and males as a consequence of their fundamentally different reproductive strategies. However,because most traits have a common genetic basis between the sexes, conflicting selection between the sexes over resource allocation can constrain the evolution of optimal allocation within each sex, and generate trade-offs for fitness between them (i.e. “sexual antagonism” or “intralocus sexual conflict”).The theory of resource acquisition and allocation provides an influential framework for linking genetic variation in acquisition and allocation to empirical evidence of trade-offs between distinct life history traits. However, these models have not considered the emergence of trade-offs within the context of sexual dimorphism, where they are expected to be particularly common. Here, we extend acquisition-allocation theory and develop a quantitative genetic framework for predicting genetically based trade-offs between life-history traits within sexes and between female and male fitness. Our models demonstrate that empirically measurable evidence of sexually antagonistic fitness variation should depend upon three interacting factors that may vary between populations: (1) the genetic variances and between-sex covariances for resource acquisition and allocation traits, (2) condition dependent expression of resource allocation traits, and (3) sex differences in selection on the allocation of resource to different fitness components.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)826-838
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Evolutionary Biology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2017


  • condition
  • intersexual genetic covariance
  • life-history trade-offs
  • quantitative genetic
  • sexual dimorphism
  • y-model

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