Squamates playing poker

MBE cover art Anna Minkina squamates playing poker phylogeny

This image depicts representative squamate species (lizards and snakes) playing poker, with the card and chip colors representing the sex-determining system most prevalent in each clade. The tabletop shows results from a comparative genomic analysis of squamate sex-determining mechanisms by Gamble et al. (2015). This study discovered that changes between sex-determining mechanisms in one clade, geckos, account for a half to two-thirds of the total transitions known in lizards and snakes. This remarkable frequency of transition is reflected in the illustration by the heightened activity at the gecko side of the table: the three gecko species in the foreground are cheating, implying that when it comes to sex determination, geckos do not play by the rules. The image was created by University of Minnesota biologist and artist Anna Minkina and pays homage to the Cassius M. Coolidge painting, "A Friend in Need" part of the artist’s "Dogs Playing Poker", series.

MBE cover art Anna Minkina Tony Gamble David Zarkower squamates playing poker phylogeny