Evolutionary Behavior Genetics
Ph.D. Yale University
Phone: (785) 864-5858
Fax: (785) 864-5860
Gleason Lab Webpage
Biol. 177 First year seminar: Why do the birds and bees do it?
Biol. 350 Principles of Genetics, Spring 2006
Biol. 412 Evolutionary Biology, Spring 2004, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2010
Biol. 420/655//701 Behavior genetics, Fall 2004, 2005, 2008, Spring 2012
Biol. 420 Alternative Reproductive Strategies, Fall 2009
Biol. 420/701 Female Choice and Sexual Selection, Fall 2012
Biol. 599 Senior Seminar in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Fall 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011
Biol. 599 Senior Seminar in Genetics, Fall 2007, Fall 2012
Biol. 420/701 Speciation, Fall 2002, 2003, 2010
Biol. 702 Writing the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Fall 2011, 2012
Biol. 801 EEB Genetics, Every term Fall 2006-Spring 2012
Area of Interest and Research
* Behavioral genetics
* Quantitative trait evolution in Drosophila
* Drosophila courtship song
* Molecular evolution
Sexual isolation- the reluctance of males and females of different species to mate with each other- can be a major cause of speciation in many animals. How many genes must change to produce sexual isolation? Some argue that species differences must involve change across many genes, perhaps hundreds, but the recent application of molecular techniques for gene mapping is suggesting, surprisingly, that single genes can play a large role in many ecologically important traits.
Identification of genes affecting behavior is difficult; behavioral traits can be time consuming to measure and are prone to environmental influences. Although researchers have found mutations in single genes that affect behavior, it is not clear whether or not these genes are involve in variation within species or in species differences. In addition, most behaviors are quantitative traits and, therefore, must be influenced by multiple genes. For these reasons, I am using quantitative genetics to examine natural variation within and between species.
Drosophila is an ideal model system for behavioral genetic analysis because the genetics of the organism are so well known and because it has reliably performed, quantifiable behaviors. My research uses two species that do not normally mate with each other. These species differ in female cuticular hydrocarbons (detected by the males) and male courtship songs (produced by wing vibrations and heard by females). Through quantitative trait loci analysis on backcross individuals, we can measure the cosegregation of these traits with molecular markers. Preliminary results indicate that songs are polygenic, but surprisingly are influenced by genes of major effect that are probably not those identified in single gene mutation analyses. Cuticular hydrocarbon composition is affected by one major locus, previously implicated, but other loci play a role in addition.
Greenfield, M.D., R.G. Danka, J.M. Gleason, B.R. Harris and Y. Zhou. 2012. Genotype x environment interaction, environmental heterogeneity, and the lek paradox. Journal of Evoutionary Biology. 25: 601-613. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2012.02450.x.
Gleason, J.M., A.A. Pierce, A.L. Vezeau, S.F. Goodman. 2012. Different sensory modalities are required for successful courtship in two species of the Drosophila willistoni group. Animal Behaviour. 83: 217-227. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.10.029.
Gleason, J.M., R. A. James, C. Wicker-Thomas, M.G. Ritchie. 2009. Identification of quantitative trait loci function through analysis of multiple cuticular hydrocarbons differing between Drosophila simulans and D. sechellia females. Heredity. 103: 416–424. doi:10.1038/hdy.2009.79
Zhou, Y., H.K. Kuster, J.S. Pettis, R.G. Danka, J.M. Gleason and M.D. Greenfield. 2008. Reaction norm variants for male calling song in natural populations of Achroia grisella (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae): Towards a resolution of the lek paradox. Evolution 62: 1317–1334.
Gleason, J.M., J.-M. Jallon, J. Rouault and M.G. Ritchie. 2005. Quantitative trait loci for a difference in cuticular hydrocarbons between Drosophila simulans and D. sechellia associated with sexual isolation. Genetics 171:1789–1798.
Gleason, J.M. 2005. Mutations and natural genetic variation in the courtship song of Drosophila. Behavior Genetics. 35:265–277.
Gleason, J.M. and M.G. Ritchie. 2004. Do quantitative trait loci for a courtship song difference between Drosophila simulans and D. sechellia coincide with candidate genes and intraspecific QTLs? Genetics 166:1303–1311.
Current Graduate Students
Denny Swartzlander, Ph.D. student (Molecular Biosciences)
Kaila Colyott, Ph.D. student (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)