Host - Dr Francisco Ubeda
Professor Nina Wedell
University of Exeter
Sex, conflict and selfish genes
Selfish Genetic Elements (SGEs) are genes, organelles or microorganisms present within the genome or cell of an organism that spread by subverting normal patterns of inheritance to increase their representation in the next generation; hence the term ‘selfish’. SGEs such as endosymbionts, transposable elements, and meiotic drive genes are ubiquitous in living organisms and are often associated with fitness costs to the bearer. Despite their dramatic ability to manipulate host reproduction and frequent reduction in male fertility, the impact on mating systems and sexual selection remains little explored. I will give some examples of different types of SGEs and discuss how they may shape insect mating systems by affecting sexual selection, and sexual conflict. In particular, I will discuss the impact of SGEs with sex specific effects, exemplified by recent work on DDT resistance in flies caused by a transposable element.