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The evolution of sex ratios and sex-determining systems

  • Tobias Uller
  • Ido Pen
  • Erik Wapstra
  • Leo Beukeboom
  • Jan Komdeur
Publishing year: 2007
Language: English
Pages: 292-297
Publication/Series: Trends in Ecology & Evolution
Volume: 22
Issue: 6
Document type: Journal article review
Publisher: Elsevier

Abstract english

Sex determination is a fundamental process governed by diverse mechanisms. Sex ratio selection is commonly implicated in the evolution of sex-determining systems, although formal models are rare. Here, we argue that, although sex ratio selection can induce shifts in sex determination, genomic conflicts between parents and offspring can explain why single-factor systems (e.g. XY/XX or ZW/ZZ) are common even in species that experience selection for biased sex ratios. Importantly, evolutionary shifts in sex determination do not always result in the biased production of sons and daughters sensu sex ratio theory. Thus, equal sex ratios might be an emergent character of sex-determining systems even when biased sex ratios are favored by selection.


  • Biological Sciences


  • ISSN: 1872-8383
Tobias Uller
E-mail: tobias.uller [at]


Evolutionary ecology

+46 46 222 30 94


Sölvegatan 37, Lund


Research group

Experimental Evolution, Ecology & Behaviour


Doctoral students and postdocs

I am currently about to move to Lund from University of Oxford. For details about DPhil students and postdocs in my previous research group based at the Edward Grey Institute, please click here

Downloads & links

CV (pdf; 241 kB)