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Data from: The evolution of sexual imprinting through reinforcement

Cite this dataset

Yeh, D. Justin; Boughman, Janette W.; Saetre, Glenn-Peter; Servedio, Maria R. (2018). Data from: The evolution of sexual imprinting through reinforcement [Dataset]. Dryad.


Reinforcement is the process whereby assortative mating evolves due to selection against costly hybridization. Sexual imprinting could evolve as a mechanism of reinforcement, decreasing hybridization, or it could potentially increase hybridization in genetically purebred offspring of heterospecific social pairs. We use deterministic population genetic simulations to explore conditions under which sexual imprinting can evolve through reinforcement. We demonstrate that a sexual imprinting component of female preference can evolve as a one-allele assortative mating mechanism by reducing the risk of hybridization, and is generally effective at causing trait divergence. However, imprinting often evolve to be a component rather than the sole determinant of female preference. The evolution of imprinting has the unexpected side effect of homogenizing existing innate preferences, because the imprinted preference neutralizes any innate preference. We also find that the weight of the imprinting component may evolve to a lower value when migration and divergent selection are strong and the cost of hybridization is low; these conditions render hybridization adaptive for immigrant females because they can acquire locally adaptive genes by mating with local males. Together, these results suggest that sexual imprinting can itself evolve as part of the speciation process, and in doing so has the capacity to promote or retard divergence through complex interactions.

Usage notes


National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-1255777

National Science Foundation, Award: DEB-0952659