Last update: : Friday 29 July 2016, by
Eukaryotic performance hinges on the coordinated function of the products of the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes in achieving oxidative phosphorylation. Because two genomes are involved, function is maintained only through perpetual selection for mitonuclear coadaptation. I propose that these fundamental features of the genomic architecture of eukaryotes select for pre-zygotic sorting for coadapted mitonuclear genotypes. In addition, within populations that share broadly coadapted mitochondrial and nuclear genotypes, individuals must assess cellular respiration in prospective mates each generation because recombination and mutation create individuals with variable mitonuclear compatibility. I propose that identification of mates with coadapted and compatible mitochondrial and nuclear genes is a primary reason for mate choice and underlies the patterns of ornamentation and preferences observed in animals.