Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Genomic imprinting allows maternally and paternally derived alleles to have different patterns of expression (one allele is often silent). Kin selection provides an explanation of genomic imprinting because conflicts of interest can arise between paternally and maternally inherited alleles when they have different probabilities of being present in other individuals. Our aim here is to examine the extent to which conflicts between paternally and maternally inherited alleles could arise over the allocation of resources to male and female reproduction (sex allocation), for example, conflict over the offspring sex ratio. We examine the situations in which sex allocation is influenced by competitive or cooperative interactions between relatives: local resource competition, local mate competition, and local resource enhancement. We determine solutions for diploids and haplodiploids when either the mother or the offspring controls sex allocation. Our results suggest that the greatest conflict between paternally and maternally inherited alleles and therefore the strongest selection for genomic imprinting will occur in haplodiploid species where the offspring can control sex allocation, such as the social hymenoptera and the polyembryonic parasitoid wasps. Within the social hymenoptera, we expect especially strong selection for genomic imprinting in species subject to local resource competition, such as honeybees and army ants.

Original publication




Journal article


Am Nat

Publication Date





E1 - 14


Animals, Competitive Behavior, Diploidy, Female, Genomic Imprinting, Haploidy, Male, Models, Biological, Models, Genetic, Selection, Genetic, Sex Ratio, Sexual Behavior, Animal