Prof Jaco Greeff











Office:  8-39 Agriculture Building

Tel: 012-420-3260

E-mail: jaco.greeff [at]


GTS 367: Population and Evolutionary Genetics

Since everything in biology makes sense in the light of evolution, and everything in evolution makes sense in the light of population genetics, this course is essential to understand life. This course introduces the basic 1) mathematics of processes that change allele frequencies, 2) approaches to infer processes from allele frequencies and 3) understand adaptation in complex traits.

Part of GTK 702: Science writing to honours students

This course will explain why writing is so difficult and lay foundations on which you can build clear writing.

Research focus

We are fascinated by the evolution of interactions between relatives, the evolution of reproductive strategies and the genetic footprints these leave in populations. We investigate these broad questions by combining theory, simulations and empirical work. Our empirical work has been conducted on three model systems: fig wasps, humans and nematode worms. By combining information left by dispersal, admixture and the mating system with the biology of organisms we can understand their biology better. By further combining these findings with optimality predictions from models we can understand why organisms have evolved the way they have.

For example, we have looked at how conflicts are resolved in families, using fig wasps as a model. In fig wasps, mothers reduce the number of sons they produce in order to minimize competition between their sons. If, however, there are still to many sons, sons will either evolve to fight with their brothers or they change the scale of competition by dispersing and avoiding conflict with their brothers altogether.

I give another example that highlights the power of inference from genetic variation in a human population. By matching Y-chromosome variation and surnames in Afrikaners we have shown that the non-paternity rate is less than 1%. This suggests that while substantial male sexual jealousy can evolve, we can also understand the substantial paternal investment of our species.

Publications: Google Scholar

Like Us on Facebook: Evolution of Interactions


  • Jason Pienaar, Uni Alabama
  • Steve Compton, Leeds Uni
  • Simon van Noort, South African Museum
  • Yan Chen, Mianyang Normal Uni
  • Robin Giblin-Davis, Uni Florida-IFAS
  • Sarah Clift, UP
  • Pam de Waal, UP
  • Bernard Slippers, UP
  • Carina Schlebusch & Mattias Jakobsson, Uppsala Uni


Published by Kishen Mahesh

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