EEB Seminar: March 27th

Catherine Duguay will talk on

Genetic architecture and sexual conflict in the life-history of Drosophila

at 12:30 in the EEB lounge (BioSciences 4338)

While males and females of a species ‘share’ homologous traits with a common genetic basis, sex-specific selection on these traits can shift the sexes away from their phenotypic optima, inhibiting the evolution of sexual dimorphism. This mode of sexually antagonistic coevolution is known as intralocus sexual conflict (IaSC). As IaSC has been a historically overlooked problem, many outstanding questions remain. For example, what is its contribution in maintaining genetic variation for fitness in populations? What characters underlie this variation in fitness? How does the selection history of the population influence the standing genetic variation? I used the model organism Drosophila melanogaster to attempt to resolve some of these questions. The first part of my Master’s project involved assessing the detectability of sexually antagonistic alleles in populations at different stages of adaptation to the lab. The second part of my Master’s project involved breaking down juvenile fitness into its trait components, such as growth and various morphological metrics, and examining the juvenile stage for antagonism with adult fitness effects. While the first part of my thesis proved inconclusive, the second part revealed a surprising source of sexual conflict in pre-adult stages of D. melanogaster.

Catherine Duguay is a Masters student at Queen’s University working with Adam Chippindale. Catherine is interested in genomic conflict between the sexes. How can males and females of the same species share the majority of their genome, yet have dramatically different strategies for increasing their fitness? Part of her Master’s research involves breeding Drosophilia from different populations to see if divergent sexual selection may function as an isolating mechanism. Catherine did her Bachelors at Western University and a thesis project (with Nusha Keyghobadi) on habitat fragmentation and its consequences to genetic diversity by examining the genetic structure of Wood Frogs in logged and intact forests. Catherine grew up in Quebec City then moved to Fairbanks Alaska, land of the midnight sun, where she lived for four years before returning to Canada.

Everyone is welcome to attend
Coffee and treats available at the seminar

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