darwin evolution tree

Mechanisms that reduce attraction between individuals may be the most important factors that underlie speciation, and understanding behavioral isolation is a key step to explain how new species may arise. This project is focused upon the genetic and developmental basis for behavioral isolation. D. simulansD. sechellia and D. mauritiana produce fertile females and sterile males. However, some male-female combinations are inefficient due to considerable asymmetic preferences. 

We have used high throughput, high resolution genotyping to identify two strong candidates that determine female attractiveness. I am currently testing the role of these genes. For the next step, I am seeking the genes that have evolved to produce differences in male preference. My goal is to create a complete picture of the behavioral barriers, and learn how the underlying genetics shape the pattern of speciation in general.

 © Deniz Erezyilmaz 2015