Sexual selection as a defence against meiotic drive in stalk-eyed flies

Profile Display Name:

Sam Finnegan

E-mail Address:

Start Year

2015 (Cohort 2)

Research interests:

Sexual selection;
Meiotic drive

Hobbies and interests:
PhD Project
PhD Title

Sexual selection as a defence against meiotic drive in stalk-eyed flies

Research Theme

Evolution and Adaptation

Primary Supervisor
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Secondary Supervisor
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Meiotic drive is a type of selfish genetic element that subverts the fair segregation of chromosomes at meiosis and transmits itself almost exclusively to the next generation. When meiotic drive occurs on the X chromosome, the unequal transmission of X compared to Y chromosomes causes males to sire almost exclusively female broods. Meiotic drive is predicted to have important ecological and evolutionary consequences on individuals, populations, and species in which it exists, ranging from reduced fertility to species-wide extinction. It has been suggested that aspects of sexual selection such as mate choice and polyandrous mating systems may have evolved to resist the spread of meiotic drive. However, much of this work focusses on the interests of females and does not consider how male mating strategies may evolve in response. I will use the Malaysian stalk-eyed fly, Teleopsis dalmanni to further explore this phenomenon. Recent work in this species has identified two meiotic drive variants: a weak form and a strong form. I aim to further characterise the weak form through the development of diagnostic SNP markers. Additionally, I will explore how meiotic drive impacts male mating success and explore how males carrying these elements may alter their mating strategies. In doing so, I hope to provide insight into the complex evolutionary relationship between sexual selection and meiotic drive.

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