2024-03-29 Research News

A model developed by RIKEN researchers incorporates species that change sex during their life cycles for the first time1, promising new insights into genes affecting the reproductive success of males and females differently.
Some genes that boost the reproductive success of females can be detrimental to that of males, and vice versa—a phenomenon dubbed ‘sexual antagonism’. Sometimes such genes can be silenced in individuals of the sex they are detrimental to. However, it may take a long time for these sexually antagonistic genes to be turned off, and so they may remain active in both sexes for generations.
“Researchers have long been interested in how sexual antagonism may maintain genetic variation in populations, and whether variants favoring one sex are systematically preferred,” says Thomas Hitchcock of the RIKEN Interdisciplinary Theoretical and Mathematical Sciences.

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  1. Thomas J. Hitchcock and Andy Gardner, Sexual antagonism in sequential hermaphrodites, Proceedings of the Royal Society 290, 20232222 (2023), doi: 10.1098/rspb.2023.2222

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