Current Research

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1. The evolution of sexual dimorphism:

Sexual dimorphism evolves because of sexually antagonistic selection, but this selection affects a shared genome. I test whether this shared genome is a constraint, because of the subsequent correlated response to selection, on the evolution of sexual dimorphism. Previously I have tested this using gene expression data in a univariate model and showed signs a pervasive constraint.

Now I am performing experiments using the G-matrix and multivariate breeder’s equation to test for multivariate constraint on lifespan. I am also testing whether the X-chromosome and autosomes make different contributions to constraint on the evolution of sexual dimorphism.

2. Polymorphism in the Y-chromosome:

Recent research has revealed that the Y-chromosome is no longer the wasteland it was once thought to be but instead is a master regulator of the genome, affecting gene expression patterns throughout the male genome. The Y-chromosome could therefore offer a route to the resolution of intralocus conflict between the sexes. Our study tests variance within and between populations to look for signatures of selection and variation.

3. Chromosome linkage of genetic variance:

Genetic variance on the X-chromosome is predicted to evolve differently because it is hemizygous in males and has a smaller population size. Currently I am testing hypotheses regarding the amount of additive genetic variance on the X- and autosomes.

Funding:

My PhD is funded via Uppsala University & Vetenskapsr├ądet. I have secured additional funding from the following organisations since 2012 (brackets indicate multiple successful applications):

  • Knut & Alice Wallenbergs Stiftelse
  • Helge Ax:son Johnsons Stiftelse
  • Kungliga Vetenskapsakedmien (*2)
  • Stiftelsen Lars Hiertas Minne (*2)
  • Uppsala University Graduate School on Genomes and Phenotypes (*3)

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Robert Griffin, Evolutionary Biologist

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