EEB Thursday Seminar: Social interactions in primate genomics, life history, and evolution

Jenny Tung, Duke University

Baboons Image credit: Beth Archie Baboons Image credit: Beth Archie
In social species, including our own, interactions with other members of the same species powerfully shape the environment that animals face each day. These interactions mediate the evolutionary costs and benefits of group living. Here, I will present our recent research on the impact of social interactions at the molecular and organismal levels. Using a 45-year data set from wild baboons in Kenya, we demonstrate that social adversity in early life combines with ecological pressures to profoundly shape individual survival and lifetime reproductive success. Meanwhile, in captive rhesus macaques, we show that social status causally alters immune function, including the response to infection. Together, these results demonstrate that close ties between social adversity and survival have a long evolutionary history in the primate lineage, and that changes at the level of gene regulation contribute to this relationship.

Light refreshments served at 4 p.m.