New gene evolution under sexual selection and sexual conflict

Manyuan Long


Dr. Manyuan Long; University of Chicago

November 9 at 12:20pm in the Fralin Auditorium, Fralin Hall room 102

Hosted by Dr. Igor Sharakhov


Dr. Manyuan Long is currently the Edna K. Papazian Distinguished Service Professor at the University of Chicago, in its Department of Ecology and Evolution and the college. He joined Chicago in 1997, after completing his postdoctoral training at Harvard University during 1993-1997. He received his PhD in genetics and evolution in 1992 from the University of California at Davis. In his early scientific career in the early 1990 in graduate school, he found and pursued a general problem in evolution and genetics: How does a new gene originate in organism? He has examined major issues from this problem including the mechanisms, rates, patterns, forces and phenotypic effects. More interesting and tough scientific questions have been identified and investigated, as recorded in ~150 research reports and three books, commentaries and reviews in high-profile scientific magazines and competitive specific journals. These discoveries have also shaped new chapters in textbooks in the related fields, having become attractive to biologists of more broad and diverse areas and non-science audiences of various popular science and regular news-media. He won numerous prizes and awards in USA e.g. Packard Fellowship for Science and Engineering, NSF CAEEER awards and AAAS fellow. He have contributed to editorial service for influential journals e.g. PNAS, PLoS Biology, EMBO Reports and Genetics and to administrative service to related major academic societies such as the international Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution and the Genetics Society of America.

New gene evolution is a general process in almost all organisms, raising a number of new scientific problems to understand. We examined the roles of rarely considered forces of non-adaptive and anti-adaptive forces in combination with adaptive forces in evolution of new genes and the consequent phenotypic evolution and molecular functions.  Using computational genomic analyses, in combination with population genomics, we identified a number of extremely young and evolutionarily fixed new gene duplicates in the single species of Drosophila melanogaster (<< 3 million years old).  Using knockdown and knockout analyses, we found some of these species-specific genes evolved essential functions in development and reproduction.  The rapid duplications and subsequent substitutions of these genes were identified to have fitness effects that are not simple adaptive but reflect the forces of sexual selection in the Darwinian-Bateman paradigm and recently proposed sexual conflict.  The molecular function analyses reveal an amazingly rapid evolution of new duplicate from redundant copies to diverged species-specific essential functions in spermatogenesis and oogenesis in an unexpectedly short time scale (100K years) despite opposite evolutionary forces.  The general significance in understanding of evolution of novel molecular functions and involved evolutionary forces will be discussed.    

VanKuren NW and Long M, 2018. Gene duplicates resolving sexual conflict rapidly evolved essential gametogenesis functions. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2(4):705-712.

VanKuren NW and Long M, 2017. Behind the paper: Species-specific duplicate gene help resolve sexual conflict while evolving essential. Nature Ecology & Evolution Community

Perry J, 2018. Duplication resolves conflict. Nature Ecology & Evolution 2(4): 597–598 (2018) volume2, pages

Edwards Flyer

This seminar will NOT be livestreamed or recorded.