Meeting Abstract

S6-2.2  Jan. 5  Adaptive Evolution and Coevolution of Sperm - Egg Recognition Molecules SWANSON, WJ*; AAGAARD, J; CLARK, N; University of Washington

The molecular basis of speciation remains one of the outstanding questions in evolutionary biology. Recent studies have indicated that the rapid evolution of reproductive proteins may be involved in reproductive isolation and speciation. I will discuss characterizing egg coat proteins and interacting male-female reproductive proteins in abalone (genus Haliotis), a system for which many of the molecular details of fertilization are well established and one that serves as a model for the study of speciation by the rapid evolution of reproductive molecules. I will show that the rapid evolution of both sperm and egg gamete recognition molecules is promoted by positive selection, and provide statistical evidence of the co-evolution of the genes encoding these molecules.