The Cox Lab has been awarded a new grant from the National Science Foundation to study the evolution of sex-biased gene expression. The project, which also includes collaborators at Georgia Southern University and Rutgers University, seeks to understand how hormones such as testosterone allow males and females to express the same genes in different ways. The research will characterize the hormonal regulation of gene expression across fence and spiny lizards, a group that includes some species in which males are larger than females and testosterone promotes growth, and others in which females are the larger sex and testosterone inhibits growth. Comparing changes in gene expression across species with different patterns of sexual dimorphism will allow the group to reconstruct evolutionary changes in the hormonal regulation of a shared genome.
Photo: Male and female desert spiny lizards, a species in which males are the larger sex.