EEB events: Thursday seminar: The evolutionary enigma of sex: Sally Otto, University of British Columbia
Sally Otto, Professor, Department of Zoology, University of British Columbia
One of the greatest puzzles in evolutionary biology is the high frequency of sexual reproduction and recombination. Given that individuals surviving to reproductive age have genomes that function in the current environment, why should they risk shuffling their genes with those of another individual? Mathematical models are especially important in developing predictions about when sex and recombination can evolve, because it is difficult to intuit the outcome of evolution with several interacting genes. Interestingly, early theoretical analyses found it difficult to identify conditions favoring the evolution of high rates of sex. One reason why an answer to the paradox of sex has been so elusive is that our models have focused unduly on populations that are infinite in size, unstructured, and isolated from other species. Yet most verbal theories for sex and recombination consider a finite number of genotypes evolving in a biologically and/or physically complex world. In this talk, I review the various hypotheses for why sex and recombination is so prevalent and discuss theoretical results indicating which of these hypotheses is most promising.
Host: Professor Tim James
Coffee and cookies will be served at 4 p.m.
Location: 1200 Chemistry