The discovery of alleles that are able to distort segregation during meiosis in their favour raises the question of why Mendelian segregation is the rule and segregation distortion the exception. Previous research on this topic was limited by an unrealistic assumption: equal segregation in the two sexes. Úbeda and Haig [(2005) Genetics 170, 1345–1357] provide a new model allowing sex-specific segregation distortion. This model shows that natural selection favours departure from Mendelian expectations. The evolutionary instability of Mendelian segregation under more realistic assumptions requires a new paradigm that explains its ubiquity.

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