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    Sexual Selection

    My work focuses on the evolutionary genetics of sexual selection (the outcome of mate choice and competition over mates). With collaborators, I have conducted experiments estimating costs and benefits of sexual selection in Drosophila melanogaster - a species with magnificent courtship behavior and ornamentation as well as cryptic aggression - and have proposed a general hypothesis for the evolution of courtship via genes that act in a sexually antagonistic manner (good for one sex but at the expense of the other; see, chase-away). Specifically, males sometimes appear to exploit female sensory systems in a way that is analogous to manipulative advertising (e.g., through increased volume or vivid coloration). Current interests center on evaluating the chase-away hypothesis through experimentation and literature analysis. Students are welcome to inquire about research opportunities.

    Majestic melanogaster = peacock +



    Rice, W.R. and B. Holland. 2005. Experimentally enforced monogamy: Inadvertent selection, inbreeding, or evidence for sexually antagonistic coevolution? Evolution 59:682–685.

    Stemmer, W., and B. Holland. 2003. Survival of the Fittest Molecule. American Scientist 91:526-533.

    Holland, B. 2002. Sexual selection fails to promote adaptation to a new environment. Evolution 56:721-730.

    Pitnick, S., G.T. Miller, J. Reagan and B. Holland. 2001. Males’ evolutionary response to experimental removal of sexual selection. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 268:1071-1080.

    Holland, B. and W.R. Rice. 1999. Experimental removal of sexual selection reverses intersexual antagonistic coevolution and removes a reproductive load. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 96:5083-5088.

    Rice, W.R. and B. Holland. 1999. Reply to comments on the chase-away model of sexual selection. Evolution 53:302-306.

    Holland, B. and W.R. Rice. 1998. Perspective: Chase-away sexual selection: antagonistic seduction versus resistance. Evolution 52:1-7.

    Rice, W.R. and B. Holland. 1997. The enemies within: intergenomic conflict, interlocus contest evolution (ICE) and the intraspecific red queen. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 41:1-10.

    Holland, B. and W.R. Rice. 1997. Cryptic sexual selection – more control issues. Evolution 51:321-324.

    Lab Group (Spring '08)

    Holland Lab S 08

    Left to right:
    Yukiharu Miyashige, Graduate student
    Larry Cabral, M.S., 2007; Fall 2008, doctoral student at UC Irvine
    Brett Holland, reflexive blinker extraordinaire
    Colin Cotino, Graduate student