Wayne Potts

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Our latest paper makes the cover of Ecology and Evolution

Photo credit- Doug Cornwall


Research in the news, University of Utah press release...

Fructose More Toxic than Table Sugar in Mice


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

2017 Ruff, J.S., Cornwall, D.H., Morrison,L.C.,Cauceglia, J.W., Nelson, A.C., Gaukler, S.M., Meagher, S., Carroll, L.S. & Potts, W.K. Sexual selection constrains the body mass of male but not female mice. Ecol Evol. 2017; 00:15. doi:10.1002/ece3.2753. view online version

2016 Mowry A.V., Kavazis A.N., Sirman A.E., Potts W.K., and Hood WR Reproduction Does Not Adversely Affect Liver Mitochondrial Respiratory Function but Results in Lipid Peroxidation and Increased Antioxidants in House Mice. PLoS ONE 11(8): e0160883. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0160883view online version

2016 Gaukler, S.M, Ruff, J.S. & Potts, W.K. Paroxetine exposure skews litter sex ratios in mice suggesting a Trivers-Willard process. Behav Ecol. 27: 1113-1121 view online version

2016 Gaukler, S.M, Ruff, J.S., Galland, T., Underwood T.K., Kandaris, K.A., Liu, N.M., Morrison, L.C., Veranth, J.M. & Potts, W.K., Quantification of cerivastatin toxicity supports Organismal Performance Assays as an effective tool during pharmaceutical safety assessment. Evol Appl. 9: 685-695. view online version

2016 Gaukler, S.M, Ruff, J.S. & Potts, W.K., Paroxetine exposure skews litter sex ratios in mice suggesting a Trivers-Willard process. Behav Ecol. Online ahead of print view online version

2016 Gaukler, S.M, Ruff, J.S., Morrison, L.C. & Potts, W.K.,, Rofecoxib-induced deleterious effects escape detection by organismal performance assays. J Pharm Negative Results. 7: 4-11. view online 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