Daven Presgraves

Year: 2008

Fellowship Institution: University of Rochester

Discipline: Ecology, Evolutionary Biology


My lab uses evolutionary genetics and genomics in Drosophila to study three topics— speciation, selfish genes, and recombination. Our speciation work has two goals: to identify and characterize genetic incompatibilities that cause reproductive isolation between species; and to determine why the X chromosome plays a special, disproportionately large role in speciation across a wide range of taxa. Our work on selfish genes seeks to determine the evolutionary origin, population dynamics, and molecular basis of an autosomal meiotic drive gene complex called Segregation Distorter (SD). During spermatogenesis in heterozygous males, SD subverts the Mendelian law of fair transmission, killing non-SD bearing spermatids so that only SD-bearing progeny are sired. Our work on recombination seeks to identify the genes and population genetic forces responsible for evolved species differences in the genome-wide rate and distribution of meiotic recombination.

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Presgraves, Daven