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Evolutionary ecology of the pre-zygotic stage
The life cycles of sexually reproducing animals and flowering plants begin with male and female gametes and their fusion to form a zygote. Selection at this earliest stage is crucial for offspring quality and raises similar evolutionary issues, yet zoology and botany use dissimilar approaches. There are striking parallels in the role of pre-zygotic competition for sexual selection on males, cryptic female choice, sexual conflict, and against selfish genetic elements and genetic incompatibility. In both clades, understanding the evolution of sex-specific and reproductive traits will rely on appreciating effects of pre-zygotic competition on fitness.
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