EEB Thursday Seminar: Who plants mate with, how they do it, and why it matters
Yaniv Brandvain, Assistant Professor, Ecology, Evolution and Behavior, Plant and Microbial Biology, University of Minnesota
Biological diversity at all scales—ranging from patterns of nucleotide variation across chromosomes to phenotypic variation found within and between species—is shaped by the events of birth, movement, mating, and death that play out across populations for generations. Throughout each of these processes, the question of mate choice is crucially important. For example, every instance of mating with oneself (self-fertilization or selfing) halves an individual’s genomic variation, exposing rare recessive mutations. At the other end of the spectrum, mating with another species may either reduce fitness via hybrid incompatibilities or introduce novel, potentially adaptive, genetic variation. I present my research, which combines theory, and data to investigate both the evolutionary implications of these mating decisions (e.g. their effects on the species range, the nature of genetic variation, genomic architecture etc) and when and how such traits can (or cannot) evolve.
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