Does genetic diversity protect host populations from parasites?

Yes, according to a new study in Evolution Letters, though the results of its meta-analyses find substantial variation in the degree to which genetic diversity reduces parasitism in host populations. Dr. Amanda Kyle Gibson explains. Whether we be clinicians, agricultural scientists, epidemiologists, or evolutionary biologists, a shared question among researchers of infectious diseases is: why is … Continue reading Does genetic diversity protect host populations from parasites?

Hybridising mosquitoes provide a new perspective on the biological species concept

A new study published in Evolution Letters has shown that the formation of new species does not necessarily require complete genomic isolation. Author Prof. Markus Pfenninger tells us more about the findings. How we think about species, speciation and hybridisation is not only of academic interest, but also influences society and politics. Biological justifications for … Continue reading Hybridising mosquitoes provide a new perspective on the biological species concept

Pollination impacts how plants respond to herbivore attack

A new study published in Evolution Letters shows that when plants evolve under different pollination regimes, their responses to herbivory also differ. Florian P Schiestl tells us more. What happens when a herbivore starts feeding on a plant? Most often, plants respond by upregulating their defense mechanisms, such as increasing their toxicity or producing more … Continue reading Pollination impacts how plants respond to herbivore attack

Resolving a 150 year old argument: why do male and female butterflies differ in colour?

A new paper published in Evolution Letters provides a deeper look at the evolutionary history of the colors of butterflies. Here, lead author Wouter van der Bijl tells us more. The females and males of species often look and act different from each other. These differences are called sexual dimorphism, and when the sexes differ … Continue reading Resolving a 150 year old argument: why do male and female butterflies differ in colour?

Selection on a plumage‐associated gene block maintains a stable boundary between two warbler species

A new paper published in Evolution Letters examines the genomic underpinnings of speciation by studying the divergent pigment traits of two warbler species in a hybrid zone. Here, lead author Dr Silu Wang tells us more. What kind of genomic regions are most important for speciation of songbirds? The genes underlying species-specific plumage coloration are … Continue reading Selection on a plumage‐associated gene block maintains a stable boundary between two warbler species

Worker rebellion: a role for imprinted genes in bumblebees?

We don’t just inherit DNA from our parents, we also inherit chemical marks which can tell our genes how to behave. These marks can sometimes make our genes work in a way that goes against traditional evolutionary understanding. A new study in Evolution Letters explains how bumblebees may hold the key to validating new theories … Continue reading Worker rebellion: a role for imprinted genes in bumblebees?

Disentangling the complex interactions between females and the sperm of multiple males

A new study published in Evolution Letters dissects the complex processes and interactions between the sexes that determine which male fathers the offspring when females have mated with different males. Here, lead author Stefan Lüpold explains the motivation for, and key conclusions of, the study. Students of evolutionary biology will at some point encounter sexual selection, a … Continue reading Disentangling the complex interactions between females and the sperm of multiple males

Searching for sexually antagonistic genes: the story behind the paper

A new Comment & Opinion piece published in Evolution Letters provides a roadmap for analysing genetic data in the context of sex-specific adaptation. Here, lead author Filip Ruzicka explains the motivation for and key conclusions of the study. Sexual dimorphism—or differences in female and male traits—represents the most striking instance of adaptive differentiation within single … Continue reading Searching for sexually antagonistic genes: the story behind the paper

Uncovering cryptic genetic divergence across environmental gradients

A new study published in Evolution Letters suggests that large blocks of linked genes play a key role in maintaining adaptation to local conditions despite extensive connectivity across latitudes in an estuarine fish. Here, Nina Overgaard Therkildsen and her co-authors explain how this study highlights that field observations of phenotypic similarity across a species’ range … Continue reading Uncovering cryptic genetic divergence across environmental gradients

Hybridizing toads with different sex chromosomes

A new study published in Evolution Letters shows that species with different sex chromosomes can interbreed. Lead author Prof Christophe Dufresnes tells us more. How do organisms become male or female? It varies between vertebrates. Humans, like all mammals, do it with a Y chromosome – a chromosome that carries a “male determining” gene that … Continue reading Hybridizing toads with different sex chromosomes