Sexual selection and its effect on the fixation of an asexual clone
Sexual selection is a powerful and ubiquitous force in sexual populations. It has recently been argued that sexual selection can eliminate the twofold cost of sex even with low genomic mutation rates. By means of differential male mating success, deleterious mutations in males become more deleterious than in females, and it has been shown that sexual selection can drastically reduce the mutational load in a sexual population, with or without any form of epistasis. However, any mechanism that claims to maintain sexual reproduction must be able to prevent the fixation of an asexual mutant clone with a twofold fitness advantage. Here, I show that despite very strong sexual selection, the fixation of an asexual mutant cannot be prevented under reasonable genomic mutation rates. Sexual selection can have a strong effect on the average mutational load in a sexual population, but as it cannot prevent the fixation of an asexual mutant, it is unlikely to play a key role on the maintenance of sexual reproduction.