A critical task in evolutionary genetics is to explain the persistence of heritable variation in fitness-related traits such as immunity. Ecological factors can maintain genetic variation in immunity, but less is known about the role of other factors, such as antagonistic pleiotropy, on immunity. Sexually dimorphic immunity—with females often being more immune-competent—may maintain variation in immunity in dioecious populations. Most eco-immunological studies assess host resistance to parasites rather than the host's ability to maintain fitness...
Extant terrestrial biodiversity arguably is driven by the evolutionary success of angiosperm plants, but the evolutionary mechanisms and timescales of angiosperm-dependent radiations remain poorly understood. The Scarabaeoidea is a diverse lineage of predominantly plant- and dung-feeding beetles. Here, we present a phylogenetic analysis of Scarabaeoidea based on four DNA markers for a taxonomically comprehensive set of specimens and link it to recently described fossil evidence. The phylogeny strongly supports multiple origins of coprophagy, phytophagy and...
Data from: Distinguishing between reservoir exposure and human-to-human transmission for emerging pathogens using case onset dataAdam Kucharski, Harriet L. Mills, Amy Pinsent, Christophe Fraser, Maria Van Kerkhove, Christl A. Donnelly, Steven Riley & Harriet Mills
Pathogens such as MERS-CoV, influenza A/H5N1 and influenza A/H7N9 are currently generating sporadic clusters of spillover human cases from animal reservoirs. The lack of a clear human epidemic suggests that the basic reproductive number R0 is below or very close to one for all three infections. However, robust cluster-based estimates for low R0 values are still desirable so as to help prioritise scarce resources between different emerging infections and to detect significant changes between clusters...
Theory predicts that sex can drive the evolution of conflict within the cell. During asexual reproduction genetic material within the cell is inherited as a single unit, selecting for cooperation both within the genome as well as between the extra-genomic elements within the cell (e.g. plasmids and endosymbionts). Under sexual reproduction this unity is broken down as parental genomes are distributed between meiotic progeny. Genetic elements able to transmit to more than 50% of meiotic...
Data from: Spatial and temporal escape from fungal parasitism in natural communities of anciently asexual bdelloid rotifersChristopher G. Wilson, Paul W. Sherman & C. G. Wilson
Sexual reproduction is costly, but it is nearly ubiquitous among plants and animals, whereas obligately asexual taxa are rare and almost always short-lived. The Red Queen hypothesis proposes that sex overcomes its costs by enabling organisms to keep pace with coevolving parasites and pathogens. If so, the few cases of stable long-term asexuality ought to be found in groups whose coevolutionary interactions with parasites are unusually weak. In theory, antagonistic coevolution will be attenuated if...
Data from: Untangling interactions: do temperature and habitat fragmentation gradients simultaneously impact biotic relationships?Poppy Lakeman-Fraser, Rob M. Ewers, R. M. Ewers & P. Lakeman-Fraser
Gaining insight into the impact of anthropogenic change on ecosystems requires investigation into interdependencies between multiple drivers of ecological change and multiple biotic responses. Global environmental change drivers can act simultaneously to impact the abundance and diversity of biota, but few studies have also measured the impact across trophic levels. We firstly investigated whether climate (using temperature differences across a latitudinal gradient as a surrogate) interacts with habitat fragmentation (measured according to fragment area and...
Sex differences in immunity are often observed, with males generally having a weaker immune system than females. However, recent data in a sex-role-reversed species in which females compete to mate with males suggest that sexually competitive females have a weaker immune response. These findings support the hypothesis that sexual dimorphism in immunity has evolved in response to sex-specific fitness returns of investment in traits such as parental investment and longevity, but the scarcity of data...
Data from: Ecology has contrasting effects on genetic variation within species versus rates of molecular evolution across species in water beetlesTomochika Fujisawa, Alfried P. Vogler, Timothy G. Barraclough, T. G. Barraclough, T. Fujisawa & A. P. Vogler
Comparative analysis is a potentially powerful approach to study the effects of ecological traits on genetic variation and rate of evolution across species. However, the lack of suitable datasets means that comparative studies of correlates of genetic traits across an entire clade have been rare. Here, we use a large DNA-barcode dataset (5062 sequences) of water beetles to test the effects of species ecology and geographical distribution on genetic variation within species and rates of...
The African Mocker Swallowtail, Papilio dardanus, is a textbook example in evolutionary genetics. Classical breeding experiments have shown that wing pattern variation in this polymorphic Batesian mimic is determined by the polyallelic H locus that controls a set of distinct mimetic phenotypes. Using bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) sequencing, recombination analyses and comparative genomics, we show that H co-segregates with an interval of less than 500 kb that is collinear with two other Lepidoptera genomes and...
A new arthropod, Enalikter aphson gen. et sp. nov., is described from the Silurian (Wenlock Series) Herefordshire Lagerstätte of the UK. It belongs to the Megacheira (=short-great-appendage group), which is recognized here, for the first time, in strata younger than mid-Cambrian age. Discovery of this new Silurian taxon allows us to identify a Devonian megacheiran representative, Bundenbachiellus giganteus from the Hunsrück Slate of Germany. The phylogenetic position of megacheirans is controversial: they have been interpreted...
Data from: How can we get close to zero?: the potential contribution of biomedical prevention and the investment framework towards an effective response to HIVJohn G. Stover, Timothy B. Hallett, Zunyou Wu, Mitchell Warren, Chaitra Gopalappa, Carel Pretorius, Peter D. Ghys, Julio Montaner, Bernhard Schwartländer & John Stover
Background: In 2011 an Investment Framework was proposed that described how the scale-up of key HIV interventions could dramatically reduce new HIV infections and deaths in low and middle income countries by 2015. This framework included ambitious coverage goals for prevention and treatment services resulting in a reduction of new HIV infections by more than half. However, it also estimated a leveling in the number of new infections at about 1 million annually after 2015....
Imperial College London11
University of Toronto2
University of Oxford2
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine1
University of Cambridge1
French National Centre for Scientific Research1
University of Bern1
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology1
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation1
University of Exeter1
University of Leicester1