Prof. Dr. Geoff Findlay (College of the Holy Cross, USA)
in: 'Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution': "Evolutionary, Genomic and Genetic Analyses of Drosophila Seminal Fluid Proteins"
by Prof. Dr. Geoff Findlay (College of the Holy Cross, USA)
Successful animal reproduction requires an egg and a sperm, but in many species, additional non-gametic proteins play pivotal roles in maximizing fertility. Such proteins are especially well studied in Drosophila melanogaster because of the availability of numerous genetic and comparative genomic tools. In this talk, I will describe some of the research I have conducted throughout my career that has focused on identifying male seminal fluid proteins, understanding their evolutionary dynamics, and investigating their functions. First, I will describe how we have used isotopic labeling and mass spectrometry to identify transferred seminal proteins from mated female reproductive tracts. Second, I will show how we identified interactions between seminal fluid proteins and female-derived proteins by searching for phylogenetic signals of evolutionary rate covariation. Finally, I will discuss our recent studies of the evolutionary origins and dynamics of a network of male- and female-derived proteins that play essential roles in regulating female post-mating responses.