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Paul SaundersPhD student Team Sex and speciation
Phone +33 (0)4 67 14 46 33
Localization Bâtiment 22, 1er étage
My research focuses on the evolution of sex determination and sex chromosomes and on sex-ratio modifications.
My work is currently based on the study of the African pygmy mouse, Mus minutoides (a close relative of the house mouse), which has an atypical sex determination system.
All therian mammals have a similar XY/XX sex determination system except for a dozen species. The African pygmy mouse is one of them: While all males are XY, and there are three types of females: the usual XX but also XX* and X*Y ones (the asterisk designates a sex reversal mutation on the X chromosome).
Different approaches (empirical, analytical, behavioural…) are used to try and understand how this system evolved from a conventional XX/XY system despite the costs associated, and what mechanisms are involved in its maintenance.
I also intend to study the evolution of the three sex chromosomes, using new generation sequencing (NGS) approaches, giving special attention to the X*, which has a female limited transmission and (at least partly) stopped recombining with the X.
Finally, as some “potential males” become females, Mus minutoides is a great model to study sex-ratio modifications. In particular, I investigate the ultimate and proximal mechanisms involved in sex chromosome transmission distortions found in this species.