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


Wright AE, Darolti I, Bloch NI, Oostra V, Sandkam BA, Buechel SD, Kolm N, Breden F, Vicoso B, Mank JE. 2019. On the power to detect rare recombination events. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 116(26), 12607–12608. View

Fraisse C, Welch JJ. 2019. The distribution of epistasis on simple fitness landscapes. Biology Letters. 15(4). View

Huylmans AK, Toups MA, Macon A, Gammerdinger WJ, Vicoso B. 2019. Sex-biased gene expression and dosage compensation on the Artemia franciscana Z-chromosome. Genome biology and evolution. 11(4), 1033–1044. View

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

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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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