Data from: Sex-biased gene expression, sexual antagonism and levels of genetic diversity in the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) genome
Dutoit, Ludovic et al. (2019), Data from: Sex-biased gene expression, sexual antagonism and levels of genetic diversity in the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) genome, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.qc5ft8n
Theoretical work suggests that sexual conflict should promote the maintenance of genetic diversity by the opposing directions of selection on males and females. If such conflict is pervasive, it could potentially lead to genomic heterogeneity in levels of genetic diversity an idea that so far has not been empirically tested on a genome-wide scale. We used large-scale population genomic and transcriptomic data from the collared flycatcher (Ficedula albicollis) to analyse how sexual conflict, for which we use sex-biased gene expression as a proxy, relates to genetic variability. Here, we demonstrate that the extent of sex-biased gene expression of both male-biased and female-biased genes is significantly correlated with levels of nucleotide diversity in gene sequences and that this correlation extends to diversity levels also in intergenic DNA and introns. We find signatures of balancing selection in sex-biased genes but also note that relaxed purifying selection could potentially explain part of the observed patterns. The finding of significant genetic differentiation between males and females for male-biased (and gonad-specific) genes indicates ongoing sexual conflict and sex-specific viability selection, potentially driven by sexual selection. Our results thus indicate that sexual antagonism could potentially be considered as one viable explanation to the long-standing question in evolutionary biology of how genomes can remain so genetically variable in face of strong natural and sexual selection.