Sex-biased Genomic Evolution

Dr. Melissa A. Wilson Sayres
Arizona State University
Tuesday, September 29, 2015 - 4:00pm
Marley 230

Sex-biased processes occur on a variety of levels, from the differentiation of our sex chromosomes, to population dynamics, to sex-specific mutation rates. The inundation of genomic and transcriptomic sequences provide the opportunity to apply computational and statistical approaches to understand sex-biased processes. The human sex chromosomes, X and Y, were once an indistinguishable pair of autosomes, but over the past 180 million years have become quite different. The Y has lost 90% of the ancestral gene content, but still retains relics of its ancestral partnership with the X. The Y chromosome, inherited through the genetic paternal line, and being nearly devoid of homologous recombination, also experiences evolutionary processes differently that regions that recombine. As such, studying patterns of genome-wide diversity can provide a unique insight into the history of sex-biased demography, selection, and mutation. I will discuss our computational approaches to: 1) understand the degradation of the Y, and how this process has affected the X chromosome; 2) illuminate the history of sex-biased demography and selection acting on the Y chromosome; and, 3) investigate the role of life history on genomic evolution.