Wayne Potts

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Our recent paper, Human-relevant levels of added sugar consumption increase female mortality and lower male fitness in mice made news on the front page of Nature as well as in some fun local press.


This scanning electron microscope image shows mouse leukemia virus (yellow particles) emerging or "budding" out of an infected white blood cell (in blue) known as a T-lymphocyte. By allowing this virus to evolve in mice, we produced new evidence that an arms race between microbes and immune-system MHC genes could be responsible for maintaining the amazing diversity of those genes. Many of these MHC genes persist despite the fact that many can cause susceptibility to autoimmune and infectious diseases. Interestingly, an estimated 70-95% of these viral babies are stillborn due to various defects in their genome or development. Read all about it

WHAT EVOLUTIONARY PROCESSES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EXTREME GENETIC DIVERSITY OF HISTOCOMPATIBILITY (MHC) GENES?

To answer this question our laboratory utilizes interdisciplinary approaches involving immunology, host-parasite coevolution, behavior, sexual selection and kin selection. Our unique approach includes examining animal behavior and evaluating fitness in seminatural conditions, a methodology that has proven to be a sensitive assay for exploring cryptic phenotypes. The sensitive nature of our assays has lead us to begin to explore the use of our technology to screen substances, including some commonly found in our environment or diet, for adverse effects on mammalian health and vigor.

Click here for an introduction to the Potts lab research program.

Recent Publications

2013 Nelson, A.C, Cauceglia, J.W., Merkley, S.D., Youngson, N.A., Oler, A.J., Nelson, R.J., Cairns, B.R., Whitelaw, E. & W.K. Potts. Reintroducing domesticated wild mice to sociality induces adaptive transgenerational effects on MUP expression. PNAS view online version

2013 Ruff, J.S., Suchy, A.K., Hugentobler, S.A., Schwartz B.L., Morrison, L.C., Gieng, S.H., Shigenaga, M.K & W.K. Potts. Human-relevant levels of added sugar consumption increase female mortality and lower male fitness in mice. Nature Communications 4, Article number: 2245 view online version

2013 Kubinak, J.L. and W.K. Potts Host resistance influences patterns of experimental viral adaptation and virulence evolution. Virulence. 2013 Jul 1;4(5):410-8. view online version

2013 Cunningham, C.B., Ruff, J.S., Chase, K, Potts, W.K. & Carrier, D.R. Competitive ability in male house mice (Mus musculus): Genetic influences. Behavior Genetics. 43:151-160 view PDF version

2013 Nelson, A.C., Colson, K.E., Harmon, S., & W.K. Potts. Rapid adaptation to mammalian sociality via sexually selected traits. BMC evolutionary biology. 13(1), 81. view PDF version

2012 Kubinak, J.L., J.S. Ruff, C.W. Hyzer, P.R. Slev, and W.K. Potts "Experimental viral evolution to specific host MHC genotypes reveals fitness and virulence trade-offs in alternative MHC types. PNAS. 109 (9) 34223427. view PDF version



Wayne Potts Laboratory                                                          
University of Utah                                                                                                                 
Department of Biology                                                              
257 South 1400 East                                         University of Utah Department of Biology
Salt Lake City UT 84112-0840 

801-585-9678