Our research focuses on two inter-related areas: sexual selection and the nature of genetic variance in natural populations.
Sexual preferences for elaborate sexual displays and ornaments are thought to evolve because they benefit the choosing sex (usually females) genetically. For the genetic benefits to be possible there must be additive genetic variation (VA) for sexual ornaments, such that highly ornamented individuals can pass fitter genes on to the progeny of choosy individuals.

Mutations and genes interacting with parasites, such as genes of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) are important sources of genetic variation for fitness, and are therefore an important focus of our research.
Sexual selection can also affect the amount of genetic variance in natural populations, for example by purging deleterious mutations from populations, which can decrease the cost of sexual reproduction and decrease the risk of population extinction. However, sexual selection also leads to divergent selection on sexes, which can increase sexually antagonistic genetic variation within populations.

Sexual selection often leads to the maintenance of alternative reproductive phenotypes (ARPs) within sexes. Evolution of ARPs, including its genetic aspects, is another area of our research.

Currently, our main study species include acarid mites, guppies and bank voles. See our current projects for more details.


News & jobs

  • Do MHC supertypes promote trans-species polymorphism? Trans-species polymorphism (TSP) arises when multiple allelic lineages that originated in an ancestral species are maintained in descendant species. TSP is usually a transient phenomenon, but at the MHC, TSP is common and seemingly long-term, leading to profound discordance between genealogies of MHC alleles and species phylogenies. In a recent paper, Lighten et al. offered a scenario in which TSP is maintained by balancing selection acting on several functionally divergent MHC ‘supertypes’ (clusters of MHC alleles with similar physicochemical properties at their antigen-binding sites, rather than on MHC alleles.  The scenario is based on an empirical finding that population-genetic structure by supertypes is significantly lower than allele-based null expectations, and on simulations modelling MHC alleles ...
    Posted Oct 22, 2018, 4:40 AM by Jacek Radwan
  • T-cell receptor (TCR) repertoire profiling in non-model species using high-throughput sequencing High-throughput sequencing (HTS) prompted development of novel, refined methods of analyzing immunological repertoires (e.g. immunoglobulins, TCRs). So far, despite a decade of progress, these techniques were mainly used in research involving model species and humans.Recently, our group published an article in Scientific Reports describing first use of HTS in TCR repertoire sequencing in a non-model mammal (the bank vole, Myodes glareolusI). The article also presents our newly developed software: AmpliTCR and AmpliCDR3. Programs allow detailed quantitative and qualitative description of TCR repertoires without reference sequences. These tools should become particularly useful in the fields of comparative immunology, ecology and evolutionary biology, which often focus on non-model species.
    Posted Oct 22, 2018, 4:35 AM by Jacek Radwan
  • PhD position starting 1st October 2018 PhD position in evolutionary biology is available for four years starting from 1st October 2018 in NCN-funded project aiming to investigate the effect of sexual selection on genome-wide genetic variation using a powerful approach of experimental evolution coupled with genome re-sequencing.  The student will receive stipend of 4500 PLN/month and, in addition to carrying our research, will have opportunity to attend specialized courses for PhD students in English. The candidate should hold MSc degree in biological sciences or bioinformatics. Further information about the project and application procedure can be obtained from the project leader via email: jradwan@amu.edu.pl   Brief summary of the project: Genetic variation is a fuel of evolution, therefore assessing the ...
    Posted May 22, 2018, 4:01 AM by Jacek Radwan
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