Abstracts (first author)
The benefits, costs and evolutionary consequences of genomic imprintingPDF
Under genomic imprinting, alleles “remember” which parent they are derived from and show differential gene expression. Imprinting is an evolutionary puzzle because it carries all the costs of diploidy but foregoes its principal benefit (protection from recessive mutations). Here, I synthesise and critically evaluate the many evolutionary hypotheses for the origin and maintenance of imprinting, while adding at least one more. I also review imprinting’s many costs, and argue that the origin of imprinting is substantially more difficult than the maintenance because of evolutionary changes wrought by imprinting itself. I finish by using theoretical models to consider the long-term consequences of imprinting for adaptation and population fitness.