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Climate-driven population divergence in sex-determining systems

Author:
  • Ido Pen
  • Tobias Uller
  • Barbara Feldmeyer
  • Anna Harts
  • Geoffrey While
  • Erik Wapstra
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 436-439
Publication/Series: Nature
Volume: 468
Issue: 7322
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Nature Publishing Group

Abstract english

Sex determination is a fundamental biological process, yet its mechanisms are remarkably diverse(1,2). In vertebrates, sex can be determined by inherited genetic factors or by the temperature experienced during embryonic development(2,3). However, the evolutionary causes of this diversity remain unknown. Here we show that live-bearing lizards at different climatic extremes of the species' distribution differ in their sex-determining mechanisms, with temperature-dependent sex determination in lowlands and genotypic sex determination in highlands. A theoretical model parameterized with field data accurately predicts this divergence in sex-determining systems and the consequence thereof for variation in cohort sex ratios among years. Furthermore, we show that divergent natural selection on sex determination across altitudes is caused by climatic effects on lizard life history and variation in the magnitude of between-year temperature fluctuations. Our results establish an adaptive explanation for intra-specific divergence in sex-determining systems driven by phenotypic plasticity and ecological selection, thereby providing a unifying framework for integrating the developmental, ecological and evolutionary basis for variation in vertebrate sex determination

Keywords

  • Biological Sciences

Other

Published
  • ISSN: 0028-0836
Tobias Uller
E-mail: tobias.uller [at] biol.lu.se

Professor

Evolutionary ecology

+46 46 222 30 94

E-C256

Sölvegatan 37, Lund

50

Research group

Experimental Evolution, Ecology & Behaviour

Projects

Doctoral students and postdocs

I am currently about to move to Lund from University of Oxford. For details about DPhil students and postdocs in my previous research group based at the Edward Grey Institute, please click here

Downloads & links

CV (pdf; 241 kB)