Graduate Program Affiliations
- Neuroscience & Cognitive Science (NACS)
- BISI-Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, & Genomics (CBBG)
- BISI-Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, & Systematics (BEES)
BSCI 401: Animal Communication
Dr. Wilkinson conducts research on the evolution of social behavior, with emphasis on how genetic mechanisms may influence the outcome of evolution. Recent research in the lab addresses several controversial topics in animal behavior: sexual selection, genomic conflict, cooperation and communication. Stalk-eyed flies are being used as a model system for studying the evolution of sexually selected traits. Our recent empirical and theoretical results have surprisingly implicated meiotic drive as a potent evolutionary agent which can catalyze sexual selection. Using quantitative trait locus studies we confirmed the prediction that sex-linked genes that influence a sexually selected trait are linked to genes causing sex chromosome meiotic drive. By hybridizing genomic DNA to custom Agilent microarrays we discovered that stalk-eyed flies contain a neo-X chromosome and that genes have moved both onto and off of this chromosome. We have recently assembled the genome for a stalk-eyed fly and are currently using RNA-seq to infer gene duplication events and expression change across tissues and sexes for over a dozen different species of flies. Bats in the neotropics and in the US are also being studied in the lab and field to understand how communication mediates cooperation and social learning.
B.S., University of California, Davis, 1977
Ph.D., University of California, San Diego, 1984