Monday, October 27, 2014

Lab meeting tomorrow about EES

Posted by Anna Nordén

Hey all,
First, I apologize for writing this blog post in the last minute! We decided on the last lab meeting that we will discuss the comment in Nature about evolutionary theory tomorrow. EXEB member Tobias Uller among others argues for the need of an extended evolutionary synthesis (ESS) which includes things like epigenetics and developmental plasticity. Other disagree, like Hopi Hoekstra and colleauges. What do you think?

Time (10:30) and place (Argumentet 2nd floor of the Ecology building) as usual.

See you there!

Illustration by R. Craig Albertson

Does evolutionary theory need a rethink?

Kevin Laland, Tobias Uller, Marc Feldman, Kim Sterelny, GerdB. Müller, Armin Moczek, Eva Jablonka, John Odling-Smee, Gregory A. Wray, HopiE. Hoekstra, Douglas J. Futuyma, Richard E. Lenski, Trudy F. C. Mackay, Dolph Schluter& Joan E. Strassmann

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sex differences in human disease genetics

Trends in Genetics' lovely image accompanying our paper.

Posted by Jessica Abbott

Just wanted to write a short post highlighting my new paper with Will Gilks and Ted Morrow. It's a review of the evidence for sex-specific genetic effects on disease risk in humans. However we also discuss the evolutionary origins of such sex-specific differences in genetic architecture, which we suggest is a result of the resolution of sexually antagonistic selection pressures.

I'm very happy to see this paper published, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, this review is something that Ted and I talked about for a long time, so it's great to see how it's taken shape. Will's expertise in human genetics and GWAS contributed a lot to the final product. For another, it seems to have been very timely, since the NIH in the United States just announced over 10 million USD in new funding to include sex and gender differences in ongoing clinical research. Publishing in a "proper" genetics journal such as Trends in Genetics also raises my profile an evolutionary geneticist, I think.

Check it out!

Gilks, W. P., Abbott, J. K., & Morrow, E. H. (2014) Sex differences in disease genetics: evidence, evolution and detection. Trends in Genetics, 30(10):453-463.

Abstract: Understanding the genetic architecture of disease is an enormous challenge, and should be guided by evolutionary principles. Recent studies in evolutionary genetics show that sexual selection can have a profound influence on the genetic architecture of complex traits. Here, we summarise data from heritability studies and genome-wide association studies (GWASs) showing that common genetic variation influences many diseases and medically relevant traits in a sex-dependent manner. In addition, we discuss how the discovery of sex-dependent effects in population samples is improved by joint interaction analysis (rather than separate-sex), as well as by recently developed software. Finally, we argue that although genetic variation that has sex-dependent effects on disease risk could be maintained by mutation–selection balance and genetic drift, recent evidence indicates that intra-locus sexual conflict could be a powerful influence on complex trait architecture, and maintain sex-dependent disease risk alleles in a population because they are beneficial to the opposite sex.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Talk by Katie Duryea about sexual selection in Anolis-lizards

Posted by Erik Svensson

This Tuesday (October 7 2014, note changed time!) we will listen to our new postdoc Katie Duryea, who will give an informal 1-hour summary of her PhD-thesis research on Anolis-lizards, which was performed at Dartmouth College in the laboratory of Ryan Calsbeek. Feel free to also invite some other folks outside our core lab-group, as Jessica and Tobias are away this Tuesday. Also, note that we will start at 09.00, rather than at 10.30, as we use to.  Here is the title:

"Sexual selection and sexual conflict in Anolis lizards: from molecules to populations."

And here is a short description by Katie about the content of her talk:  
"I will cover the  effects of male mating order on sperm precedence, the transcriptomics and molecular evolution of genes expressed during mating in female anoles, and a population study of sexual antagonism on male and female body size in anoles."

When: Tuesday October 7 at 09.00!!!
Where: "Argumentet", 2nd floor, Ecology Building