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BMC Evolutionary Biology

, 10:217

First Online: 16 July 2010Received: 20 March 2010Accepted: 16 July 2010


BackgroundIn heterogeneous environments, sex-biased dispersal could lead to environmental adaptive parental effects, with offspring selected to perform in the same way as the parent dispersing least, because this parent is more likely to be locally adapted. We investigate this hypothesis by simulating varying levels of sex-biased dispersal in a patchy environment. The relative advantage of a strategy involving pure maternal or paternal inheritance is then compared with a strategy involving classical biparental inheritance in plants and in animals.

ResultsWe find that the advantage of the uniparental strategy over the biparental strategy is maximal when dispersal is more strongly sex-biased and when dispersal distances of the least mobile sex are much lower than the size of the environmental patches. In plants, only maternal effects can be selected for, in contrast to animals where the evolution of either paternal or maternal effects can be favoured. Moreover, the conditions for environmental adaptive maternal effects to be selected for are more easily fulfilled in plants than in animals.

ConclusionsThe study suggests that sex-biased dispersal can help predict the direction and magnitude of environmental adaptive parental effects. However, this depends on the scale of dispersal relative to that of the environment and on the existence of appropriate mechanisms of transmission of environmentally induced traits.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2148-10-217 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Emmanuelle Revardel - Alain Franc - Rémy J Petit


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