Intragenomic Conflict over Dispersal

Elisabeth Farrell, Francisco Úbeda, Andy Gardner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Intragenomic conflict may arise when social partners are more related through one parent than the other—for example, owing to individuals or gametes of one sex dispersing further prior to fertilization. In particular, genes originating from the former parent are favored to promote selflessness, and those originating from the latter parent are favored to promote selfishness. While the impact of patterns of dispersal on the evolution of intragenomic conflict has received recent attention, the consequences of intragenomic conflict for the evolution of dispersal remain to be explored. We suggest that if the evolution of dispersal is driven at least in part by kin selection, differential relatedness of social partners via their mothers versus their fathers may lead to an intragenomic conflict, with maternal-origin genes and paternal-origin genes favoring different rates of dispersal. As an illustration, we extend a classic model of the evolution of dispersal to explore how intragenomic conflict may arise between an individual’s maternal-origin and paternal-origin genes over whether that individual should disperse in order to ease kin competition. Our analysis reveals extensive potential for intragenomic conflict over dispersal and predicts that genes underpinning dispersal phenotypes may exhibit parent-of-origin-specific expression, which may facilitate their discovery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E61-E71
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Issue number3
Early online date8 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2015

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