Thesis subject

Evolutionary conservation and consequences of sex-specific pathogen susceptibility in nematodes

Nematodes of the model species Caenorhabditis elegans have sex-specific susceptibility to viral infection: males are less often successfully infected than self-fertilizing hermaphrodites. In nature males are rare, but higher stress resistance can lead to an increase of males.

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In addition, males are less attracted to infected than healthy hermaphrodites. These mechanisms can contribute to increased outcrossing and selection of healthy individuals in infected populations. C. elegans rarely outcrosses in the wild, but this differs among two Caenorhabditis sister species: outcrossing is a bit more common in C. briggsae  and obligatory for C. remanei. In this project we aim to investigate conservation and consequences of male pathogen resistance in the nematode genus Caenorhabditis.

Techniques that can be used:

•Lifespan assays

•Infection with viral and/or
microsporidian pathogens

•Mating assays