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The Population Genetics of Sperm Displacement

The Genetics Society of America
Publication Date
  • Investigations
  • Biology


This article reports the results of some sperm displacement experiments, as well as the results of a theoretical study of selection arising from genetic differences in displacing ability. The experimental work involved the use of three genetic marker stocks in double and triple matings. The speed of displacement following the matings was determined by scoring the progeny of each female daily. There were clear differences between strains in their displacing ability. It is shown how new information concerning the displacement process results when three markers are used; however, no new light is shed by these experiments on the mechanism of displacement. The theoretical study of selection resulting from displacement uses a one-locus, two-allele model in which three diploid male genotypes confer different displacing abilities. The results indicate stable equilibria if (1) there is heterosis, and (2) there are certain nontransitive relationships in displacing ability among the different kinds of double matings. Some evolutionary consequences are discussed in which sperm displacement is regarded as a form of sexual selection.

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