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Cross-sex genetic correlations constrain the evolution of a behavioral syndrome

Raphaël Royauté


Theory predicts that the independent evolution of phenotypes between sexes may be constrained when cross-sex genetic correlations are frequent (i.e. both sexes share the same genetic architecture). Consistent individual differences in behavior (i.e. animal personality) are often correlated within what are known as behavioral syndromes, and these correlations often have a genetic basis. However, the potential for sex-specific behavioral syndromes has been poorly documented at the genetic level. Consequently, whether cross-sex correlations are common and lead to constrained evolution of behaviors in the same way that traits involved in sexual dimorphism are remains unknown. Here we test these predictions by comparing four populations of western field crickets (Gryllus integer) maintained in a common garden experiment. Previous research on this system has shown that the genetic architecture of the boldness-activity syndrome is conserved across populations. Using this dataset spanning over 900 sampled for behavioral phenotypes over 3 generations, we show that the expression of the boldness-activity syndrome is highly sex-specific. Females had stronger genetic correlations between shelter emergence, activity and antipredator response while only activity and antipredator response was genetically coupled in males. Moreover, evaluation of cross-sex genetic correlations indicates that shelter emergence is expressed differently in males and females and may evolve independently. In contrast, activity and antipredator response showed asymmetric cross-sex correlations indicating the potential for biased responses to selection toward females. Taken together, these results show that the presence of cross-sex genetic correlations can constrain the independent evolution of specific behaviors.
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hal-04167923 , version 1 (21-07-2023)



Raphaël Royauté. Cross-sex genetic correlations constrain the evolution of a behavioral syndrome. 23rd Evolutionary Biology Meeting at Marseilles, Sep 2019, Marseille, France. ⟨10.32942/⟩. ⟨hal-04167923⟩


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