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Evolution of sexual reproduction, sex determination and reproduction systems

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Biology Master, ENS
Year : M2
Semester : S1
Course code :
ECTS : 3
Coordinator : Henrique TEOTONIO, Biology Department, ENS

Hours : 30h (20h seminars, 10h TD)

Keywords :  recombination ; gene conversion ; mutation ; self-fertilization ; dominance ; epistasis ; Hill-Robertson effects ; linkage disequilibrium ; identity disequilibrium ; genetic incompatibility.

Prerequisites for the course : The students will have followed courses in genetics and evolutionary biology at the licence level (L3 ENS “Molecular Biology and Genetics”, “Ecology and Evolution”, and M1 ENS course in “Evolutionary Genetics”, or equivalent courses elsewhere). It is expected that students have a basic understanding of the cell biology of meiosis and developmental biology of sexual differentiation, as well as of probability theory and statistics.

Course objectives and description :

Aims :

The course will introduce students to the evolutionary biology of sexual reproduction, sex determination and reproduction systems. The course will provide the students with a basic understanding of current research problems, such that students will be able to follow doctoral studies in these topics.

Themes :

Natural selection of recombination, self-fertilization, and self-compatibility modifiers ; mechanisms of environmental and genetic sex determination ; population and quantitative genetics of outbreeding and inbreeding depression ; sexual selection ; evolution of sexual antagonism and sex allocation ; evolution of sex chromosomes ; evolution of life-cycles.

Organization :

This is a one-week (5-day) course. During the mornings, the coordinator and invited teachers will introduce their topic of study (2h) and give a lecture on their current research activities (2h). The students will be assigned research articles that they will present and discuss with the faculty during the afternoons (3h). The course will be open to students from other masters.

Assessment / evaluation : Validation of this course will be based on participation and performance during the week (50%) as well as on an individual oral exam done by the coordinator in the last afternoon (50%).

Course material (hand-outs, online presentation available, …) : Lecturers will make their presentations available to the students.

Suggested readings in relationship with the module content (textbook chapters, reviews, articles) :
Andersson, M. (1994). Sexual Selection. Princeton University Press.
Arnqvist, G. and L. Rowe (2005). Sexual Conflict. Princeton University Press.
Beukeboom, L. W. and N. Perrin (2014). The Evolution of Sex Determination. Oxford University Press.
Charnov, E. L. (1982). "The theory of sex allocation." Princeton University Press.
Harder, L. D. and S. C. Barrett (2006). Ecology and Evolution of Flowers. Oxford University Press.
Michod, R. E. and B. R. Levin (1988). The Evolution of Sex. Sinauer Press.
Otto, S. P. and T. Lenormand (2002). Resolving the paradox of sex and recombination. Nat Rev Genet 3 : 252.
Rice, W. R. (2002). Experimental tests of the adaptive significance of sexual recombination. Nat Rev Genet 3 : 241.
Shuster, S. M. and M. Wade (2003). Mating Systems and Strategies. Princeton University Press.