A genetic tug-of-war between the sexes begets variation

November 18, 2019

In species with sexual reproduction, no two individuals are alike and scientists have long struggled to understand why there is so much genetic variation. In a new study published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, a team of researchers from the University of Uppsala in Sweden now show that a genetic tug-of-war between the sexes acts to maintain variation.

For important traits such as lifespan and metabolism, the interests of the sexes can differ. In many species, males favour a "live-fast-and-die-young" lifestyle whereas a slower pace of life is beneficial for females. This sexual conflict can lead to different gene variants being favoured in males and females, which can lead to a balance in which both variants, one being good for males and one for females, are maintained in populations. The team from Uppsala analysed the DNA sequence of many thousands of genes in great detail and found a clear footprint of this sort of balance in different populations of beetles.

"We were surprised to see that hundreds of different genes are apparently involved in sexual conflict," says Professor Göran Arnqvist, who led the research team. "Most of the genes that showed this form of balance were genes that are turned on, or expressed, more in females than in males and were genes known to affect metabolism and reproduction."

"Many of these genes are of really fundamental importance for male and female life histories, so this form of genetic conflict between the sexes seems to contribute in a very important way to the maintenance of genetic variation," Arnqvist continues. "Differences between males and females can, apparently, help create genetic diversity."
-end-


Uppsala University

Related Science Articles from Brightsurf:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.

Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.

Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.

World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.

PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.

Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.

Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.

Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.

Read More: Science News and Science Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.