When papers refer to traits as being sexually homologous do they refer to traits which are:

a) present in both sexes but can be dimorphic (e.g. body size is sexually homologous because both sexes have a measurable trait which has the same criteria in either sex, but this is frequently dimorphic)


b) present in both sexes and not different between the sexes

I have always thought it is a, but I'm now using the term in a paper and want to check. I would have thought the latter would be "homologous homomorphic traits" or something like that.

If an answer could have an example of the use(s) which make it obvious from published work that would be great!

  • $\begingroup$ By traits do you mean gross phenotypes (something that you can measure without using molecular techniques)? $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG May 29 '15 at 6:46
  • $\begingroup$ yes @WYSIWYG ... $\endgroup$ – rg255 May 29 '15 at 6:52
  • $\begingroup$ Innate immune response, vision (Not too sure. Will look for references) $\endgroup$ – WYSIWYG May 29 '15 at 9:09
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @WYSIWYG I'm not looking for examples - im checking use of terminology :) $\endgroup$ – rg255 May 29 '15 at 11:35
  • $\begingroup$ Without any doubts a), i.e. a trait present in both sexes but the phenotype can be different. Here an example. $\endgroup$ – cagliari2005 May 30 '15 at 8:44

Your first definition is correct: a homologous trait is one that can be mapped unambiguously between two samples. What establishes the homologous relationship depends, of course, on the trait or feature being mapped.

For example, one way sexually homologous traits can be identified is by tracing the physical development of a male vs. a female organism. If precursor x becomes y in a developed male and z in a developed female, then y and z can be referred to as homologues.

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