New Publication by Emme Bruns, et al., on Early View in 'Evolution'

December 19, 2018

A new publication entitled "The role of infectious disease in the evolution of females: Evidence from anther‐smut disease on a gynodioecious alpine carnation" is up for early online viewing in 'Evolution'. The team of Emme Bruns, Ian MIller, Michael Hood, Valentina Carrasso and Janis Antonovics address the question of whether differential exposure to an infectious disease (anther-smut) can explain the maintenance of high female frequencies in a species of wild carnation with a unique mating system consisting of hermaphrodites and females.  They show that female flowers have lower levels of spore deposition than hermaphrodite flowers, and that this difference is driven by more rapid closing in females following pollen deposition. They also show that naturally occurring populations with disease have a higher frequency of females than populations without disease.  The results are important because they indicate that disease could be driving the evolution of females, which is a critical first step towards the evolution of separate sexes. Second author Ian MIller is a 2015 graduate and alumnus of the Distinguished Majors Program in Biology at UVA. To view this early edition of the article, please click here