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Social Gradients in Gene Regulation in Nonhuman Primates

Posted: 10/12/2018 (CSDE Seminar Series)

Jenny Tung, Department of Biology, Duke University

In social species, including our own, interactions with other members of the same species powerfully shape the environment that animals face each day. These interactions mediate the evolutionary costs and benefits of group living, and also contribute to social gradients in health. Here, I will present our recent research on the impact of social interactions at the molecular and organismal levels. Using a five-decade data set from wild baboons in Kenya, we demonstrate that social adversity in early life combines with ecological pressures to profoundly shape individual survival. Meanwhile, in captive rhesus macaques, we show that social status causally alters immune function, including the response to infection. Finally, by taking advantage of data sets from both species, we show that social status is consistently linked to variation in the regulation of innate immunity and inflammation-related genes. However, the strength and direction of these associations depend on sex, cellular environment, and the nature of the social hierarchy in which they arise.

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Date: 10/19/2018

Time: 12:30-1:30 PM

Location: 121 Raitt Hall