"Evolution in a Contemporary Human Population: Intersexual Constraints and Costs of Reproduction", Professor Stephen Stearns, Yale University
In this talk I will use an analysis of the population described in the Framingham Heart Study to make three points: (1) Contemporary humans are still evolving, and we can in part predict how they are responding to selection. (2) Selection on males and females differs, and its interaction with intersexual genetic correlations constrains the responses of each sex to selection. In other words, males are constrained by processes occurring in females, and females are constrained by processes occurring in males. (3) There are costs of reproduction in humans that are paid in lifespan, but it is likely that these costs were deferred to a point at which our ancestors would already have died for other rea- sons. When we detect those costs today, we find evidence that the versions of some genes that make us susceptible to cancer also increase reproductive success early in life. This confirms in humans a central assumption of the evolutionary theory of aging – the existence of genes that mediate a tradeoff between reproduction and survival - that had previously only been confirmed in model organisms like fruit flies and worms.
The Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory 2012-2013 Colloquium Committee is comprised of the following people. Please feel free to contact them by e-mail regarding any possible speakers or topics for future colloquia.