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Genetics of sex -- beyond just birds and bees

BETHESDA, MD June 17, 2014 Sex is everywhere in nature. Whether it's a male bird singing to mark his territory or a tiny yeast cell secreting chemicals to attract the opposite mating type, sex has profoundly shaped the appearance, behavior and evolution of many organisms. The genetic and evolutionary forces underlying sex differences and sex determination are crucial for understanding much of the natural world, including human biology.

In recognition of the importance of these topics, the Genetics Society of America journals GENETICS and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics announce an ongoing collection of research articles that discuss various elements relating to the genetics of sex. The first group of articles in the collection is published today in a special section of the June issues of both journals, accompanied by a commentary article.

By creating a special focus on the genetics of sex and bringing together related articles in one collection, the journals hope to encourage cross-fertilization of ideas between researchers working on related problems from different angles.

The inaugural group features research examining the evolutionary loss of Y-chromosomes, sexually antagonistic selection, switching between sexual and asexual reproduction in certain fungi, mechanisms preventing self-fertilization in plants, and the genesis of sex cells in nematodes and maize. The journals today also publish a commentary that illustrates the connections between seemingly disparate topics related to sex-specific biology.

"The fundamental genetic differences between the sexes and how they arise continue to fascinate biologists," says Michelle Arbeitman, biologist at Florida State University and one of the editors of the new collection. "We foresee these first papers as just the start of the conversation, illuminating discoveries both broad and deep."

The collection includes research from Stanford University, University of Texas at Arlington, the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, University of Texas, Universit Laval, University of California, Davis and University of Modena and Reggio Emilia.


Contact: Cristy Gelling
Genetics Society of America

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