Nest-site philopatry and selection for environmental sex determination


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Abstract

SummaryThe reason for the frequent occurrence of environmental sex determination (ESD) in reptiles is still not well understood, although much effort has been devoted to solving the issue. Stimulated by the occurrence of nest-site philopatry in some species, this paper examines a diploid model of the influence of nest-site philopatry on the evolution of ESD. Analysis shows that nest-site philopatry can lead to ESD because the fitnesses of sons and daughters are not influenced in the same way by nest-site quality. Daughters inherit the nest site and thus benefit more than sons from a high-quality nest site. Conversely, the fitness of daughters at low-quality nest sites is lower compared to the fitness of sons. Therefore, genes causing ESD can spread by causing the production of more sons at low-quality nest sites and more daughters at high-quality nest sites. Suggestions are made to test empirically whether nest-site philopatry led to the evolution of ESD.

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