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In the Light of Evolution IX. Clonal Reproduction: Alternatives to Sex

Organized by Michel Tibayrenc, John C. Avise and Francisco J. Ayala, this meeting was co-sponsored by the University of California, Irvine and held January 9-10, 2015 at the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Center in Irvine, CA.


Evolutionary studies of clonal organisms have advanced considerably in recent years, but are still fledgling. Although recent textbooks on evolution or genetics might give the impression that nonsexual reproduction is an anomaly in the living world, clonality is the rule rather than the exception in many viruses, bacteria, and parasites that undergo preponderant asexual evolution in nature. Asexual reproduction is also common in insects, pathogenic helminthes, crustacea, and plants, and is found even in vertebrates. Clonality is thus of crucial importance in basic biology as well as in studies dealing with transmissible diseases.
The focus should actually be on the balance between sexuality and clonality, since many so called clonal organisms benefit from both evolutionary modes.  The study of clonal reproduction raises many theoretical, experimental, and technological challenges that could yield considerable pay-offs in microbiology and parasitology (e.g. in human medicine, veterinary medicine, and agronomy), artificial cloning, and the study of cancer.  This ILE Colloquium will make it possible to bring together specialists in various disciplines, including genetics, evolution, statistics, bioinformatics, and medicine. A balance will be sought between the various disciplines, including clonal animals and plants, animal and human cloning, pathogens, and cancer studies.


Friday, January 9

I. General Considerations

 Overview: The ILE Series. John C. Avise

 Introduction and Chair, John C. Avise

 Can eukaryotes be considered clonally propagating cell lines with intermittent sex?, Dave Speijer, University of Amsterdam

 Cancer in Parasitic Protozoan Trypanosoma brucei and Toxoplasma gondii, Zhao-Rong Lun, Sun Yat-Sen University

 Mathematical Models of Clonality, Dominik Wodarz, University of California, Irvine

 The Cost of Sex: Why Aren’t We All Clonal?, Claus-Peter Stelzer, University of Innsbruck

II. Clonality in Multicellular Organisms

  Chair, Zhao-Rong Lun

  Influences of Clonal Growth on Plant Sex , Spencer C.H. Barrett, University of Toronto

  Clonality in Asexual Invertebrate Animals, John M. Logsdon, Jr., University of Iowa

  Natural Clonality in Vertebrate Animals, John C. Avise, University of California, Irvine

  Artificial Cloning of Domestic Animals, Carol L. Keefer, University of Maryland

  Keynote Address

  Introduction, Michel Tibayrenc

  Cloning Humans: Biological and Ethical Considerations, Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine

  Saturday, January 10

 III. Clonality in the Microbial World

   Carol L. Keefer

   Clonality and Intracellular Polyploidy in Virus Evolution and Pathogenesis, Esteban Domingo, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid

   The Impermanence of Bacterial Clones, Howard Ochman, University of Texas, Austin

   Clonal Reproduction in Fungi, John Taylor, University of California, Berkeley

   Clonal Reproduction in Parasitic Protozoa, Michel Tibayrenc, IRD, Montpellier, France

IV. Clonality, Cancer, and Evolution

   Chair, Esteban Domingo

  Organismal Fitness, Somatic Evolution, and Cancer, James DeGregori, University of Colorado School of Medicine

  Pathogens and Cancer: Clonal Processes and Evolution, Edwin L. Cooper, University of California, Los Angeles

  Stem Cell Competitions: Evolution, and Cancer Progression, Irving Weissman, Stanford University

  Clonal Reproduction: An Evolutionary Curse or Blessing?, Marcel E. Dorken, Trent University

  Concluding Remarks, Francisco J. Ayala, University of California, Irvine


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