Sexually antagonistic genetic variation is when the same gene variant has opposite effects on the fitness of males and females. Sexually antagonistic genes and traits are interesting because they may hold the key to one of the long-standing paradoxes in evolutionary biology; the maintenance of standing genetic variation. Sexual antagonism is also thought to be a key factor in the evolution of sex chromosomes.
Highly differentiated sex chromosomes are common in many species. They have evolved through multiple processes. It is difficult to study these processes in old, already highly heteromorphic, sex chromosomes. We therefore attempt to study the early evolution of sex chromosomes using a variety of methods, including characterization of new portions of the sex chromosome in natural populations, and experimental evolution of sex chromosomes in the lab.
The research group Genetics of Sex Differences is interested in sexual selection and sexual conflict, the evolution of sexual dimorphism, and sex chromosome evolution. We work in the interface between evolutionary ecology and genomics.
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