Selfish genetic elements

Selfish genetic elements are genetic segments that can enhance their own transmission at the expense of other genes in the genome, even if this has no positive or a net negative effect on organismal fitness. The spread of selfish elements requires sex and outbreeding, and their presence is often revealed in hybrids.

My lab currently studies different types of selfish elements.

Segregation distorters manipulate gametogenesis to their own advantage, to end up being overrepresented in gametes. When segregation distortion acts on sex chromosomes, they can skew the sex ratio. Transposable elements have the ability to self-replicate and move to new locations in the genome of their hosts. Centromeres may exploit female meiosis, and can preferentially be transmitted in egg cells as opposed to polar bodies.

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