Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lab-meeting on intralocus sexual conflict on Wednesday 9 September 2009

This Wednesday (9 September), I thought we should discuss a recent TREE-article about intralocus sexual conflict, its origin and (possible) solution, which you can find here. The authors are Russel Bonduriansky and Steve Chenoweth,the latter Tom Gosden's postdoc host at Queensland University in Australia. It is a timely overview over a rapidly growing field, which was quite evident for those of us who participated in the ESEB-meeting in Turin, where a whole session was dedicated to the fascinating and increasingly popular topic of intralocus sexual conflict.

It was interesting for me to closely have seen this "explosion" of a field, which I have been familiar with for quite a while, but which few (at least in Lund) understood a few years ago, or realized the importance of. I strongly suspect that the term "gender load", which I had difficulties in explaining in some talks I gave in Lund, will soon enter the mainstream language of evolutionary biology. Perhaps future historians of science will see the signs of a minor conceptual and scientific "revolution" here, as people are increasingly viewing the genome not as a peaceful and harmonic and well-functioning "unit", but rather as something is constantly selected in different directions, the end-result becoming a compromise between male and female fitness optima (see figure above).

For those of you want some additional background reading, I can also recommend Robert Cox and Ryan Calsbeek's recent metaanalysis of intralocus sexual conflict, which was published in American Naturalist earlier this year, and which you can find here. You could also download my own paper (co-published with Andrew McAdam and Barry Sinervo) about intralocus sexual conflict over immune defence and how it affects sex-specific signalling in lizards. This paper is in press in Evolution and can be found here.

I suggest that we all read the TREE-review, and those who wants can also study the two other papers as a general background and bring them to the lab-meeting. We meet the usual time: 10.00 on Wednesday morning in "Darwin". Any fika volunteer?

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