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RDP Seminar Jos Kafer

The dynamics of the evolution of separate sexes in flowering plants

RDP seminar by Jos Kafer from the Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive (Lyon, France)

The question why certain groups of organisms are almost exclusively hermaphroditic while separate sexes are the rule in others is one of the many enigmas related to the evolution of sex. The particular puzzle offered by the distribution of separate sexes (dioecy) in flowering plants is the following one : despite many independent origins, only few species are dioecious (5-6%), and completely dioecious large groups are lacking. While some understanding has been gained in why and how dioecy evolves, the question if and how it can be lost has not received much attention. Mostly, it was assumed that dioecy disappears when the dioecious species go extinct, but recent research has indicated that this hypothesis is wrong. A new view is emerging, that suggests that dioecy is a much more labile trait in plants than in animals, with frequent gains and frequent reversals to hermaphroditism. However, precisely how this happens is not clear, due to our lack of knowledge on sex determination in plants. We are currently developing tools based on high-throughput sequencing that allow to detect sex chromosomes in many yet unstudied species, and will enable us to connect evolutionary theory to the action of genes expressed in flower development.

Date : Monday, March 12th
Time : 11am
Location : Place de l’Ecole

RDP host : Charlie Scutt

Evènement(s) associé(s)