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Evolutionary genetics of guppy sex chromosomes

Total Cost €


EC-Contrib. €






 GUPPYSEX project word cloud

Explore the words cloud of the GUPPYSEX project. It provides you a very rough idea of what is the project "GUPPYSEX" about.

assembled    molecular    chromosome    recombination    predators    expression    gaps    genes    first    populations    compensating    benefit    linked    versus    pseudo    plausible    ideal    poecilia    antagonism    mutations    complement    conflict    sexes    closer    group    estimate    genetics    par    differing    guppy    frequencies    divergence    lower    evolutionary    fitness    predicted    strength    individuals    sa    tests    females    reduce    map    hypothesis    predation    unless    emerge    documented    regimes    multiple    male    team    coloration    behavioural    dna    natural    expertise    predictions    direct    complicated    evolution    conspicuous    gene    arise    region    allele    sexual    suppressed    gain    markers    xx    autosomal    ecological    population    reticulata    thought    attractive    carries    chromosomes    fill    sex    lacks    fish    polymorphisms    guppies    genetic    phenotypes    linkage    rates    mapped    age    males    fundamental    sequence    modifers    collaborators   

Project "GUPPYSEX" data sheet

The following table provides information about the project.


Organization address
postcode: EH8 9YL

contact info
title: n.a.
name: n.a.
surname: n.a.
function: n.a.
email: n.a.
telephone: n.a.
fax: n.a.

 Coordinator Country United Kingdom [UK]
 Total cost 1˙550˙235 €
 EC max contribution 1˙550˙235 € (100%)
 Programme 1. H2020-EU.1.1. (EXCELLENT SCIENCE - European Research Council (ERC))
 Code Call ERC-2015-AdG
 Funding Scheme ERC-ADG
 Starting year 2016
 Duration (year-month-day) from 2016-08-01   to  2021-07-31


Take a look of project's partnership.

# participants  country  role  EC contrib. [€] 
1    THE UNIVERSITY OF EDINBURGH UK (EDINBURGH) coordinator 930˙607.00
2    THE UNIVERSITY OF EXETER UK (EXETER) participant 619˙627.00


 Project objective

I propose an integrated programme of molecular genetic studies to fill fundamental gaps in our knowledge of sex chromosome evolution. Specifically, I will use a fish, the guppy (Poecilia reticulata), to test the sexual antagonism (SA) hypothesis of sex chromosome evolution, which is plausible, but lacks direct evidence. SA mutations (that benefit one sex but lower fitness of the other) are proposed to arise in a partially sex-linked (pseudo-autosomal region, or PAR) gene, and establish polymorphisms. To reduce the conflict between the sexes, suppressed recombination between X and Y chromosomes then evolves (unless sex-specific expression evolves first). The guppy is ideal for studying this hypothesis because SA polymorphisms are well documented: male coloration phenotypes make males attractive to females, but also make them conspicuous to predators (while females gain no compensating benefit). Moreover, guppies have a recombination-suppressed sex-linked region that carries multiple coloration genes, yet is thought to have evolved recently. However, no non-Y-linked coloration factor has yet been mapped, and the genetics is complicated by modifers making some XX individuals male, and by male-specific expression of some phenotypes. I will map coloration genes and identify PAR genes using DNA-based markers to take account of these problems. I will test for the predicted lower coloration allele frequencies in natural populations with high versus low predation rates, and do population genetic analyses to test for closer linkage under high predation. I will also use X-Y sequence divergence to estimate the age of the guppy sex chromosome. The project tests predictions that emerge from well-documented differing selection regimes in natural guppy populations. I have therefore assembled a team of collaborators experienced with guppies who can provide behavioural and ecological genetic expertise to complement the strength of my own group in molecular evolutionary genetics.


year authors and title journal last update
List of publications.
2018 Tim Connallon, Colin Olito, Ludovic Dutoit, Homa Papoli, Filip Ruzicka, Lengxob Yong
Local adaptation and the evolution of inversions on sex chromosomes and autosomes
published pages: 20170423, ISSN: 0962-8436, DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2017.0423
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences 373/1757 2020-01-24
2018 Deborah Charlesworth
The Guppy Sex Chromosome System and the Sexually Antagonistic Polymorphism Hypothesis for Y Chromosome Recombination Suppression
published pages: 264, ISSN: 2073-4425, DOI: 10.3390/genes9050264
Genes 9/5 2020-01-24

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