, Volume 41, Issue 10, pp 1285-1296

Sex determining mechanisms: An evolutionary perspective

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Theories on the evolution of sex determining mechanisms are reviewed for male and female heterogamety, environmental sex determination, and briefly, haplo-diploidy and hermaphroditism. Because of their discrete and well-defined nature, sex determining mechanisms lend themselves to three types of evolutionary questions:what variety occurs and might be expected but does not occur,how do changes occur from one mechanism to another, andwhy do certain changes occur? All three approaches were illustrated for these different sex determining mechanisms. A generality emerging from these studies is that, at the level of selection on the sex ratio, there are no intrinsic problems in evolving from one sex determining mechanism to another: straightforward transitions between different mechanisms exist under various conditions.