The evolution of guppy sex chromosomes, and their role in sexually selected traits

Theme: Evolution & Adaptation

Primary Supervisor:

Judith Mank

Genetics, Evolution and Environment, UCL

Project Description:

A century ago, early evolutionary geneticists showed that many of the beautiful colours in male Trinidad guppies are controlled by the Y chromosome, and these observations were key to the theoretical foundations that guide sex chromosome research today. Despite their early promise, guppies have been largely neglected in modern genetic analysis of sexual selection and sex chromosomes.

The project, based on recent collaborations between our group and researchers in Canada and Sweden, will study the evolution and sexualisation of guppy sex chromosomes using next-generation whole-genome and transcriptome sequencing. The exact details of the project will be based on the student’s interests, and could include studies of recombination, gene expression evolution, sexual conflict and Y chromosome degeneration.

The student will work closely with the supervisor and other members of the research group. Details of who we are and what we do is available here.

Policy Impact of Research:

This project will offer insight into adaptation in wild populations, and will reveal how sexual selection and sexual conflict are encoded and resolved within the genome.

The student will learn cutting-edge genomic and bioinformatic techniques within a positive and productive research team.


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