CAREER: Genetic Architecture and the Construction of Complex Social Traits

Grants and Contracts Details


While new genomic data are revealing the genetic basis of social traits such as cooperation, group living, and division of labor, the evolutionary theiry necessary for understanding how those traits have evolved in their genomic context remains undeveloped. The proposed research will build new evolutionary theory by utilizing tools from population genetics, adaptive dynamics, and evolutionary game theory to derive new insights into how genetic architecture shapes the evolution of complex social traits and how that architecture may coevolve with sociality. FIrst, population genetic models and individually-based simulations will be used to ewxplore the rolse of genetic linkage and background selection in shaping the conditions necessary for the evolution of genes involved in cooperation. Second, new computational tools will be developed to analyze the adaptive dynamics of multiple coevolving social traits in the presence of recombination; these tools will be used to analyze the conditions necessary for maintaining genetic variation at multiple genetic loci that affect socail traits. Third, population genetic models and simulations will be used to study how social behaviors that require multiple traits can evolve doing so requires crossing a fitness valley (i.e., when intermediate genotypes are deleterious). Finally, new computational tools will be built to analyze the long-term evolution of cooperative traits when such traits are determined by the interactions among genes in a gene-regulatory network.
Effective start/end date6/1/195/31/25


  • National Science Foundation: $781,397.00


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