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Presented By: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

EEB Tuesday Seminar Series - Evo-devo is a Pop-gen Problem

with Matt V. Rockman, Professor of Biology, New York University

This event is part of our ongoing Tuesday Seminar Series.

The phenotype of an animal depends both on its own genotype and that of its mother, who contributes the egg, with its complex store of cytoplasmic determinants of development. Life-history evolution therefore relies jointly on heritable variation among mothers in one generation and among their offspring in the following generation. I will describe a genetic analysis of this distinctive evolutionary regime in a marine annelid, Streblospio benedicti. These animals vary heritably in their development: some females make large eggs that develop directly into benthic juveniles, and others make small eggs that develop into planktonic larvae. This dichotomy is one of the most characteristic patterns in marine macroevolution, and our studies provide the first insight into its quantitative- and population-genetic and genomic basis. Genetic and ecological models that incorporate results from our experimental work show that the evolution of early developmental processes is constrained by their unique mode of inheritance.

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