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

  • PhD position: Genomics of invasion in Trinidadian guppies The Evolutionary Biology Group is recruiting a PhD student for an NCN-funded project that will investigate genomic consequences of artificial introduction, population expansion and population replacement in the Trinidadian guppy. The successful candidate will take part in all parts of the project including sampling fish on Trinidad and Tobago and analyzing population genomic data.  Background: A major aim in evolutionary biology is to quantify the effects that demographic history has had and can have on the patterns and dynamics of deleterious and adaptive variation. The project aims at validating theoretical predictions recently developed in this field, especially those related to population expansion and gene flow between species. To address these questions, we will perform large-scale genomic analyses of ...
    Posted Jun 23, 2019, 11:39 PM by Mateusz Konczal
  • Magdalena Migalska defends her thesis! Magdalena Migalska defended her PhD entitled “MHC genes copy number and TCR repertoire size in the bank vole: diversity, selection and the optimal hypothesis”. The thesis was submitted as a collection of three peer-reviewed articles published in Heredity (link), Scientific Reports (link) and PNAS (link). She will next come back to her beloved Krakow, to continue work on MHC genes at the Jagiellonian University. We feel that Krakow is so lucky to have her and we will certainly miss her in the lab. Congratulations Magda! 
    Posted Jun 19, 2019, 6:24 AM by Mateusz Konczal
  • Major histocompatibility complex class I diversity limits the repertoire of T cell receptors The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is central for self-/non–self-recognition and acquired immunity. The extreme polymorphism of MHC genes, promoted by parasite-mediated selection, contrasts with limited within-individual diversity. The prevailing explanation is a trade-off between increased pathogen recognition and the anti-autoimmune T cell receptor (TCR) depletion mechanism. However, the predicted inverse relationship between individual MHC diversity and TCR repertoire size has not yet been shown. Using a rodent species with a variable number of MHC genes, we detected such an effect for MHC class I, but not class II. Our results, reported in PNAS (Migalska et al. 2019), partially support the TCR depletion hypothesis, but also suggest additional, unexplored mechanisms that might be constraining ...
    Posted Feb 26, 2019, 6:17 AM by Jacek Radwan
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