Condition-transfer maternal effects modulate sexual conflict

This is a Preprint and has not been peer reviewed. The published version of this Preprint is available: This is version 8 of this Preprint.

Add a Comment

You must log in to post a comment.


There are no comments or no comments have been made public for this article.


Download Preprint

Supplementary Files

Roberto García-Roa, Gonçalo Faria, Daniel W.A. Noble, Pau Carazo 


Strong sexual selection frequently favours males that increase their reproductive success by harming females, with potentially negative consequences for population growth. Understanding what factors modulate conflict between the sexes is hence critical to understand both the evolution of male and female phenotypes and the viability of populations in the wild. Here, we model the evolution of male harm while incorporating male-induced maternal effects on offspring quality. We show that, because male harm can induce condition-transfer maternal effects that reduce the quality of a harming male’s own offspring, maternal effects can partially align male and female evolutionary interests and significantly curb the evolution of male harm. These effects are independent of population structure, mating system, and whether male harm comes before (i.e. harassment) and/or during/after (i.e. traumatic inseminations or toxic ejaculates) mating, and are particularly salient when maternal effects influence offspring ability to inflict (sons) or resist (daughters) harm. Our results underscore the potential importance of considering maternal effects to unravel the evolution of sexual conflict.



Behavior and Ethology, Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Evolution, Life Sciences


Cooperation, harassment, male harm, maternal effects, sexual conflict, sperm competition, transgenerational effects


Published: 2021-01-08 13:53

Last Updated: 2024-03-07 05:47

Older Versions

CC-By Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International

Additional Metadata

Data and Code Availability Statement:
Data will be made available as soon as the paper is accepted for publication.