Sunday, February 14, 2010

Visit by Thomas F. Hansen and Arnaud Le Rouzic this week

This week our department will be visited by theoretical evolutionary biologist Thomas F. Hansen, who is currently professor at University of Oslo in Norway. I am pleased to host Thomas during his visit to Lund, as I visited his department Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES) in May last year, and it is now my time to take care of him as he visits our department.

Thomas former postdoc Arnaud Le Rouzic will also visit us, and will give a short presentation of his research during our lab-meeting on Wednesday (10.15; Thomas will arrive later, in Wednesday afternoon). During our lab-meeting on Wednesday, I was thinking we should also discuss a paper about evolutionary quantative genetics, authored by Steve Chenoweth et al:

Author(s): Chenoweth SF (Chenoweth, Stephen F.)1, Rundle HD (Rundle, Howard D.)2,3, Blows MW (Blows, Mark W.)1

AMERICAN NATURALIST Volume: 175 Issue: 2 Pages: 186-196 Published:
FEB 2010

Abstract: Although divergent natural selection is common in nature, the extent to which genetic constraints bias evolutionary trajectories in its presence remains largely unknown. Here we develop a general framework to integrate estimates of divergent selection and genetic constraints to estimate their contributions to phenotypic divergence among natural populations. We apply these methods to estimates of phenotypic selection and genetic covariance from sexually selected traits that have undergone adaptive divergence among nine natural populations of the fly Drosophila serrata. Despite ongoing sexual selection within populations, differences in its direction among them, and genetic variance for all traits in all populations, divergent sexual selection only weakly resembled the observed pattern of divergence. Accounting for the influence of genetic covariance among the traits significantly improved the alignment between observed and predicted divergence. Our results suggest that the direction in which sexual selection generates divergence may depend on the pattern of genetic constraint in individual populations, ultimately restricting how sexually selected traits may diversify. More generally, we show how evolution is likely to proceed in the direction of major axes of genetic variance, rather than the direction of selection itself, when genetic variance-covariance matrices are ill conditioned and genetic variance is low in the direction of selection.

The paper can be downloaded here. Most of you probably already know that Steve Chenoweth is the postdoc host of Tom Gosden, former PhD-student in our lab.

Also, you should of course not miss the exciting Thursday seminar (18 February at 14.00 in "Blue Hall") by Thomas, also on the theme of quantitative genetics, with the title:

Measuring evolvability and constraints with examples from the evolution of Dalechampia blossoms

We do thus have a very exciting week ahead of us!

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