Vicoso Group

Sex-Chromosome Biology and Evolution

Sex chromosomes, such as the X and Y of mammals, are involved in sex-determination in many animal and plant species. Their sex specificity leads them to evolve differently from other chromosomes, and acquire distinctive biological properties. The Vicoso group investigates how sex chromosomes evolve over time, and what biological forces are driving their patterns of differentiation.

The Vicoso group is interested in understanding several aspects of the biology of sex chromosomes, and the evolutionary processes that shape their peculiar features. By combining the use of next-generation sequencing technologies with studies in several model and non-model organisms, they can address a variety of standing questions, such as: Why do some Y chromosomes degenerate while others remain homomorphic, and how does this relate to the extent of sexual dimorphism of the species? What forces drive some species to acquire global dosage compensation of the X, while others only compensate specific genes? What are the frequency and molecular dynamics of sex-chromosome turnover?

Group Leader

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Current Projects

Sex chromosome turnover and conservation | Dosage compensation in female-heterogametic species | Gene expression evolution in sexual and asexual species


Fraisse C, Puixeu Sala G, Vicoso B. 2019. Pleiotropy modulates the efficacy of selection in drosophila melanogaster. Molecular biology and evolution. 36(3), 500–515. View

Gammerdinger WJ, Kocher T. 2018. Unusual diversity of sex chromosomes in African cichlid fishes. Genes. 9(10). View

Picard MA, Cosseau C, Ferré S, Quack T, Grevelding C, Couté Y, Vicoso B. 2018. Evolution of gene dosage on the Z-chromosome of schistosome parasites. eLife. 7, e35684. View

Fraisse C, Roux C, Gagnaire P, Romiguier J, Faivre N, Welch J, Bierne N. 2018. The divergence history of European blue mussel species reconstructed from Approximate Bayesian Computation: The effects of sequencing techniques and sampling strategies. PeerJ. 2018(7). View

Harrison M, Arning N, Kremer L, Ylla G, Belles X, Bornberg Bauer E, Huylmans AK, Jongepier E, Puilachs M, Richards S, Schal C. 2018. Expansions of key protein families in the German cockroach highlight the molecular basis of its remarkable success as a global indoor pest. Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution. 330, 254–264. View

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since 2015 Assistant Professor, IST Austria
2009 – 2014 Postdoc, University of California, Berkeley, USA
2010 PhD, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Selected Distinctions

2017 Member of the Young Academy of the Austrian Academy of Sciences
2016 ERC Starting Grant
2016 FWF Standalone Grant
2011 DeLill Nasser Travel Award from the Genetics Society of America

Additional Information

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Open Vicoso lab website

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