PhD on sexual antagonism in hermaphrodites (Sweden) ~

9 de noviembre de 2012

PhD on sexual antagonism in hermaphrodites (Sweden)

A PhD student position is now available in Dr. Jessica Abbott's lab to
work on sexual antagonism in hermaphrodites.

More information about the position and how to apply can be found at (Swedish) and (English).

Last day to apply is November 28th 2012.

Applications must be sent via the University's central application
system, but informal inquiries can be addressed to

Project description:
What maintains variation in natural populations? This seemingly simple
question represents one of the major unsolved problems in evolutionary
biology. Selection in natural populations is often strong, and most
traits are heritable, which in the long run should lead to depletion of
standing genetic variation. Yet this is not what we see. Although
several mechanisms for the maintenance of genetic variation have been
suggested, such as mutation-selection balance and fluctuating selection,
this issue is far from resolved. Recently, a new appreciation of the
potential role of sexual antagonism in shaping patterns of standing
genetic variation has developed. Sexual antagonism occurs when the same
allele has opposite fitness effects in males and females, and as such
may constrain the evolution of sexual dimorphism. Sexual antagonism has
often been considered a relatively transient phenomenon which will
eventually be resolved by the evolution of sex-specific modifiers, but
recent research suggests that sexual antagonism can in fact be a chronic
phenomenon, and may therefore be an important component of the standing
genetic variation in sexual organisms.

Although there are theoretical reasons why such phenomena could be
important even in hermaphrodites, there is currently little empirical
data.However mutation-selection balance, spatial and temporal variation
in sex-specific fitness optima, assortative mating for fitness, negative
frequency-dependence, and asymmetric fitness and dominance effects are
all phenomena that could contribute to maintaining sexually antagonistic
genetic variation within hermaphroditic populations.The student will
further explore this area using a three-pronged approach which combines
quantitative genetics, experimental evolution, and simulation
modeling.The amount of standing sexually antagonistic genetic variation
for fitness in the hermaphroditic flatworm /M. lignano/ can be measured
using a standard quantitative genetics breeding design.An experimental
protocol has already been developed and is currently in the pilot stage,
which will allow the creation of a synthetic sex chromosome to measure
the response to sex-limited experimental evolution in /M. lignano.
/Finally, the student will use simulation modeling to determine under
which conditions each of the phenomena listed above may contribute to
intralocus sexual conflict in hermaphrodites.

About Lund:
Lund University is one of the world's top 50 universities within the
life sciences, and research at the Biology Department covers a wide
range of topics, including Molecular Biology, Biodiversity research, and
Evolutionary Ecology.  Lund has good communications with Malmö (15 min.
by train) and Copenhagen (40 min by train), and has been voted the best
place to live in Sweden.

Dr. Jessica K. Abbott
Department of Biology
Section for Evolutionary Ecology
Lund University
Sölvegatan 37
223 62 Lund, Sweden
Phone: 046 222 9304

"It is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so
positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by
science."  --Charles Darwin, Descent of Man

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