The research of Francisco Úbeda de Torres, an assistant professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and a senior scientist at the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis, was featured in the New York Times article titled “Tug of War Pits Genes of Parents in the Fetus” on September 14, 2010.
The New York Times feature discusses an article by Úbeda that appeared this week in the journal Evolution. Úbeda and his coauthor, Andy Gardner of the University of Oxford, are interested in how genes coming from the mother and father are differently expressed in their offspring. The authors have devised a mathematical model for assessing the genetic consequences of a woman moving to her husband’s village after marriage and raising her children among people to whom she is not related.
According to the model, genes inherited from one’s mother will profit the most if one is concerned only with his or her own welfare. Genes inherited from one’s father are likely to be present in other juveniles in the village, however, so paternally inherited genes will profit from altruistic behavior. In this scenario, therefore, natural selection favors the activation of paternally inherited genes that promote altruistic behavior and maternally inherited genes that promote selfishness. In other words, Mom and Dad are telling us to behave differently.
F. Úbeda and A. Gardner. 2010. A Model for Genomic Imprinting in the Social Brain: Adults. Evolution. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2010.01115.x.
F. Úbeda and A. Gardner. 2010. A Model for Genomic Imprinting in the Social Brain: Juveniles. Evolution 64: 2587–2600.
F. Úbeda. 2008. Evolution of Genomic Imprinting with Biparental Care: Implications for Prader-Willi and Angelman Syndromes. PLoS Biology 6: 1678-1692.
F. Úbeda and J.F. Wilkins. 2008. Imprinted Genes and Human Disease, an Evolutionary Perspective; In: Genomic Imprinting. New York, Springer: 101-113.
F. Úbeda and D. Haig. 2003. Dividing the Child. Genetica 117: 103-10.
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