Sperm should evolve to make female meiosis fair

Yaniv Brandvain, Graham Coop

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Genomic conflicts arise when an allele gains an evolutionary advantage at a cost to organismal fitness. Oögenesis is inherently susceptible to such conflicts because alleles compete for inclusion into the egg. Alleles that distort meiosis in their favor (i.e., meiotic drivers) often decrease organismal fitness, and therefore indirectly favor the evolution of mechanisms to suppress meiotic drive. In this light, many facets of oögenesis and gametogenesis have been interpreted as mechanisms of protection against genomic outlaws. That females of many animal species do not complete meiosis until after fertilization, appears to run counter to this interpretation, because this delay provides an opportunity for sperm-acting alleles to meddle with the outcome of female meiosis and help like alleles drive in heterozygous females. Contrary to this perceived danger, the population genetic theory presented herein suggests that, in fact, sperm nearly always evolve to increase the fairness of female meiosis in the face of genomic conflicts. These results are consistent with the apparent sperm dependence of the best characterized female meiotic driversin animals. Rather than providing an opportunity for sperm collaboration in female meiotic drive, the "fertilization requirement" indirectly protects females from meiotic drivers by providing sperm an opportunity to suppress drive.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1004-1014
Number of pages11
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 The Author(s).


  • Genomic conflict
  • Meiosis
  • Meiotic drive
  • Sperm-egg interactions


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