Meeting Abstract

S6-1.6  Jan. 5  Genetics and molecular evolution of male reproductive genes CIVETTA, Alberto; University of Winnipeg

It has been shown that genes with a role in reproduction evolve relatively faster than others. Most comparative genomics analyses however, have pooled a wide variety of genes into a single sex-related category and differences in rates across sex-specific functional classes and within gene families have been overlooked. There is also a need to identify candidate genes responsible for interspecies divergence in reproductive phenotypes. Taking advantage of genome sequencing project data it is now possible to analyze rates of evolution across species for specific reproductive gene classes. However, interspecies comparisons of sequence divergence are somehow limited for formal tests of selection. I have been using population genetics analysis to test whether positive selection has driven rapid evolution of male reproductive genes. I am also using Drosophila simulans introgressed lines to measure phenotypic variation in male reproductive traits. I have identified chromosomal introgressions responsible for phenotypic divergence in traits such as male mating behavior, sperm competition and male inflicted reproductive cost. My lab is staring to use microarray technology to associate how these chromosomal introgressions affect genes expression and to single out candidate genes.