Carrie Whittle

The evolution of a distinction between the germ line and the soma almost always accompanied the evolution of eukaryotic multicellularity. Along with this novel division of cellular labor, came the evolution of specialized somatic cell types to form reproductive organs. These cell fate decisions have strong potential impacts on organismal reproduction and therefore fitness and the evolutionary process. This leads us to wonder whether and how the evolution of the genome, its component coding sequences, response to mutation. and gene expression characteristics, may be impacted by the germ line and somatic reproductive tissues.

In this line of inquiry, we analyse various molecular evolutionary characteristics of genes expressed in germ line and soma, including evolutionary rate, codon use, and sex bias.


Evolutionary dynamics of sex-biased genes expressed in cricket brains and gonads. Whittle, C.A., Kulkarni, A. and Extavour, C.G. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 34(8):1188-1211 (2021). [PubMed]
Adaptation of codon and amino acid use for translational functions in highly expressed cricket genes. Whittle, C.A., Kulkarni, A., Chung, N. and Extavour, C.G. BMC Genomics, 22(1):234 (2021). [PubMed]
Shared cell biological functions may underlie pleiotropy of gene regulatory modules in the germ lines and nervous systems of animals. Kulkarni, A., Lopez, D., and Extavour, C.G. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, doi: 10.3389/fevo.2020.00215 (2020). [PubMed]
Null hypotheses for developmental evolution. Church, S.H. and Extavour, C.G. Development, 147(8):dev178004 (2020). [PubMed]
Absence of a faster-X effect in beetles (Tribolium, Coleoptera). Whittle, C.A., Kulkarni, A. and Extavour, C.G.* G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 10(3):1125-1136 (2020). [PubMed]
Evidence of multifaceted functions of codon usage in translation within the model beetle Tribolium castaneum. Whittle, C.A., Kulkarni, A. and Extavour, C.G.* DNA Research, 26(6): 473-484 (2019). [PubMed]
Contrasting patterns of molecular evolution in metazoan germ line genes. Whittle, C.A. and Extavour, C.G.* BMC Evolutionary Biology, 19(1):53 (2019). [PubMed]
Selection shapes turnover and magnitude of sex-biased expression in Drosophila gonads. Whittle, C.A. and Extavour, C.G.* BMC Evolutionary Biology, 19(1):60 (2019). [PubMed]
Rapid evolution of ovarian-biased genes in the yellow-fever mosquito (Aedes aegypti). Whittle, C.A. and Extavour, C.G. Genetics, 206(4): 2119-2137 (2017). [PubMed]
Bone Morphogenetic Protein (BMP) signaling in animal reproductive system development and function. Lochab, A.K. and Extavour, C.G. Developmental Biology, 427(2): 258-269 (2017). [PubMed]
Refuting the hypothesis that the acquisition of germ plasm accelerates animal evolution. Whittle, C.A. and Extavour, C.G. Nature Communications, 7, 12637 (2016). [PubMed]
Expression-linked patterns of codon usage, amino acid frequency and protein length in the basally branching arthropod Parasteatoda tepidariorum. Whittle, C.A. and Extavour, C.G. Genome Biology and Evolution, 8(9) 2722-36 (2016). [PubMed]
Codon and amino acid usage are shaped by selection across divergent model organisms of the Pancrustacea. Whittle, C.A. and Extavour, C.G. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics, 5(11) 2307-2321 (2015). [PubMed]
Germ cell selection in genetic mosaics in Drosophila melanogaster. Extavour, C.G. and García-Bellido, A. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA, 98(20): 11341-11346 (2001). [PubMed]