Karel Janko, Institute of Animal Physiology and Genetics - ASCR, Laboratory of Fish Genetics, Czech Republic | May 25, 2017 – 10h00 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão




Apart from few notable exceptions, asexual organisms are considered as evolutionary dead-ends due to many theoretical reasons. I would like to propose another point of view from which the evolutionary potential of asexuals would not seem so desperate. Although individual asexual lineages may still appear short-lived, their existence influences related sexual species enforcing them to respond and ultimately change in long term. Hence, the evolutionary potential of any individual asexual lineage extends far beyond its life span. I will review several such mechanisms via which asexuals could modify the evolution of sexual species.

Born in the hearth of Silesia, Karel Janko was not aware until last year that my home town, Orlova, was the birth place of world-famous ichthyologist Eugenius Balon. Since his early teens, the increasing levels of testosterone made him more and more interested in sex, which also translated to my professional carrier – the evolution of sexual and asexual reproduction. As he likes everything which lives in/under water, his model organisms are fish, especially Cobitis loaches, which combine sex, asexuality and polyploidy. He uses ethological, ecological, molecular-genomic approaches to understand why some lineages prefer sex while others switched to asexuality. His quest for the ultimate question (what is sex good for) also attracted him towards polar regions where asexuality is far more widespread compared to lower latitudes.

[Host: Miguel Carretero, Applied Phylogenetics]


Image credits: Karel Janko