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Recurrent origin of a sexually selected trait in Xiphophorus fishes inferred from a molecular phylogeny

Please always quote using this URN: urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-61569
  • DARWIN\(^1\) believed that sexual selection accounts for the evolution of exaggerated male ornaments, such as the sword-like caudal fin extensions of male fishes of the genus Xiphophorus, that appear detrimental to survival. Swordtails continue to feature prominently in empirical work and theories of sexual selection; the pre-existing bias hypothesis has been offered as an explanation for the evolution of swords in these fishes\(^{2,3}\). Based upon a largely morphological phylogeny, this hypothesis suggests that female preference to mate withDARWIN\(^1\) believed that sexual selection accounts for the evolution of exaggerated male ornaments, such as the sword-like caudal fin extensions of male fishes of the genus Xiphophorus, that appear detrimental to survival. Swordtails continue to feature prominently in empirical work and theories of sexual selection; the pre-existing bias hypothesis has been offered as an explanation for the evolution of swords in these fishes\(^{2,3}\). Based upon a largely morphological phylogeny, this hypothesis suggests that female preference to mate with sworded males arose in ancestrally swordless species, thus pre-dating the origin of the sword itself and directly driving its evolution. Here we present a molecular phylogeny (based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequences) of Xiphophorus which differs from the traditional one: it indicates that the sword originated and was lost repeatedly. Our phylogeny suggests that the ancestor of the genus is more likely to have possessed a sword than not, thus questioning the applicability of the pre-existing bias hypothesis as an explanation for the cvolution of this sexually selected trait.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author: Axel Meyer, Jean M. Morrissey, Manfred Schartl
URN:urn:nbn:de:bvb:20-opus-61569
Document Type:Journal article
Faculties:Medizinische Fakultät / Theodor-Boveri-Institut für Biowissenschaften
Language:English
Year of Completion:1994
Source:Nature (1994) , 368, 539-542
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 54 Chemie / 540 Chemie und zugeordnete Wissenschaften
GND Keyword:Physiologische Chemie
Release Date:2011/11/25
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht