Graduate Fellow

Comprehensive analysis of the rates and patterns of sex chromosome evolution in arthropods

PI(s): Heath Blackmon (University of Texas-Arlington (Arlington,TX))
Start Date: 22-Aug-2013
End Date: 10-Dec-2013
Keywords: comparative methods, database, evolutionary theory, phylogenetics

The evolutionary dynamics of sex chromosomes are unique because they have smaller effective population sizes than autosomes and do not spend equal time in males and females. However, our understanding of the rates and patterns of sex chromosome evolution come from very few model organisms. The Proposed research will synthesize data from decades of cytogenetic work and phylogenetic studies and will use Bayesian comparative phylogenetic methods to estimate the rate at which sex limited chromosomes decay and how frequently sex chromosome systems experience turnover. This project will allow us to determine how broadly applicable our understanding of sex chromosome evolution is and how variable the rate of sex chromosome turnover and decay is across some of the most speciose groups of animals, and which groups exhibit patterns that may be worthy of further research. Completion of this project will also lead to useful comparative phylogenetic tools that can be used to perform posterior predictive simulations of discrete characters.

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