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DEPE | Séminaires BEEPSS / BEEPSS Seminars » Genetic predictors of fitness: a review of two lizard tales

Genetic predictors of fitness: a review of two lizard tales

Last update: : Friday 5 April 2019, by Nicolas Busser

Presented by: Mats Olsson, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Date: Thursday 25th April 2019, 13:00-14:30
Place: Amphithéàtre Grünewald, Batiment 25

Picking the right study organism is central to all successful research in biology. If you like catching large numbers of animals, that can be easily marked, recaptured, brought into the lab for mating experiments, be analysed in terms of real time evolution in the wild, be repainted to understand their cool colour signals, and having their gametes handed over at the flick of a hormonal switch, then pick a reptile or amphibian! I take this neutral, unbiased approach to reviewing our research on genetic (coded and non-coded) predictors in two model systems, sand lizards (Lacerta agilis) in Sweden, and painted dragons (Ctenophorus pictus) in Australia. In this seminar, you will hear about loss of genetic diversity due to population fragmentation in sand lizards, associated female choice on male immunogenotypes, female post-copulatory biasing of paternity to less inbred and more compatible partners elevating offspring viability, biasing of paternity to the least genetically compromised offspring sex (homogametic, ZZ, males) when partners are genetically ‘poorer’, and how non-coding elements (telomeres) predict success in sperm competition and survivorship through life. In painted dragons, the classic question is addressed on how multiple morphs can coexist over evolutionary time without one replacing the other. Different reproductive investments and build-up of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS), especially early in life, are linked to morph-specific erosion of telomeres with DNA repair systems ‘mending’ telomeres throughout life, and yolk-precursor (vitellogenin) ‘mopping up’ ROS and reducing their toxic impact.