AffiliationUniv Arizona, Dept Ecol & Evolutionary Biol
volvocine green algae
ancestral state reconstruction
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherUNIV CHICAGO PRESS
CitationErik R. Hanschen, Matthew D. Herron, John J. Wiens, Hisayoshi Nozaki, and Richard E. Michod, "Multicellularity Drives the Evolution of Sexual Traits," The American Naturalist 192, no. 3 (September 2018): E93-E105, https://doi.org/10.1086/698301
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AbstractFrom the male peacock's tail plumage to the floral displays of flowering plants, traits related to sexual reproduction are often complex and exaggerated. Why has sexual reproduction become so complicated? Why have such exaggerated sexual traits evolved? Early work posited a connection between multicellularity and sexual traits such as anisogamy (i.e., the evolution of small sperm and large eggs). Anisogamy then drives the evolution of other forms of sexual dimorphism. Yet the relationship between multicellularity and the evolution of sexual traits has not been empirically tested. Given their extensive variation in both multicellular complexity and sexual systems, the volvocine green algae offer a tractable system for understanding the interrelationship of multicellular complexity and sex. Here we show that species with greater multicellular complexity have a significantly larger number of derived sexual traits, including anisogamy, internal fertilization, and secondary sexual dimorphism. Our results demonstrate that anisogamy repeatedly evolved from isogamous multicellular ancestors and that anisogamous species are larger and produce larger zygotes than isogamous species. In the volvocine algae, the evolution of multicellularity likely drives the evolution of anisogamy, and anisogamy subsequently drives secondary sexual dimorphism. Multicellularity may set the stage for the overall diversity of sexual complexity throughout the Tree of Life.
Note12 month embargo; published online: 10 July 2018
VersionFinal published version
SponsorsNational Aeronautics and Space Administration [NNX13AH41G, NNX15AR33G]; National Institutes of Health [GM084905]; National Science Foundation [MCB-1412395, DEB-1457701]; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT)/Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) [KAKENHI 15K14590, 16H02518]
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