The genetics of cooperation in Neolamprologus pulcher
|Director of thesis||Barbara Taborsky|
|Co-director of thesis||Matthias Kölliker, Universität Basel Nadia Aubin-Hort, Université de Laval, Quebec|
|Summary of thesis||
To date research on cooperative behavior in vertebrates has focused almost exclusively on its adaptive function. Understanding the evolution of cooperative behaviour requires also understanding its genetic basis, however, and in particular identifying genetic and environmental sources of phenotypic variation. We aim to investigate the genetic basis of cooperative behavior in the cooperatively breeding cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher, by following a dual approach: First, we will apply quantitative genetics to (i) estimate the heritability of helping propensity, (ii) find out about behavioural and/or physiological traits that are genetically correlated to helping propensity, and (iii) investigate gene-by-environment interactions, i.e. how the environmental need for help influences the expression of helping behaviour across genotypes. Second, we will employ a molecular genetics approach to study, amongst other things, the genes and neuroendocrine pathways involved in the control of helping behaviour.
|Administrative delay for the defence|