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Gee Research Blog

Applying Metabolic Scaling Laws to Predicting Extinction Risk

Thu, 25 Sep 2014 10:32:49 +0000

The Earth is warming. That much were are now certain of. A major challenge for scientists hoping to ameliorate the effect of this on biodiversity is to predict how temperature increases will affect populations. Predicting the responses of species living in complex ecosystems and heterogenous environments is a difficult task, but one starting point is […]

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The Importance of Size in the Evolution of Complexity in Ants

Tue, 16 Sep 2014 10:14:37 +0000

Ants are amongst the most abundant and successful species on Earth. They live in complex, cooperative societies, construct elaborate homes and exhibit many of the hallmarks of our own society. Some ants farm crops, others tend livestock. Many species have a major impact on the ecosystems they live in, dispersing seeds, consuming huge quantities of […]

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Understanding Catfish Colonisation and Diversification in The Great African Lakes

Fri, 05 Sep 2014 10:29:42 +0000

Why some regions or habitats contain vast, diverse communities of species, whilst others contain only relatively few species, continues to be the subject of scientific research attempting to understand the processes and conditions that allow and adaptive radiation. The Great African Lakes exist as freshwater ‘islands’, with spectacularly high levels of biodiversity and endemism. They […]

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Sex Differentiation Begins During Early Development

Wed, 27 Aug 2014 14:04:57 +0000

Males and females look different from each other, and these sexual dimorphisms are the result, largely, of sex differences in the expression of certain genes. Typically, scientists have studied sexual dimorphism in sexually mature adult animals, as this is the lifestage where differences are most apparent. However, many sex-specific phenotypes arise from sex-biased development, so […]

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Extinction and Species Declines:Defaunation in the Anthropocene

Mon, 18 Aug 2014 10:35:52 +0000

We are in the grips of a mass extinction. There have been mass extinctions throughout evolutionary history, what makes this one different is that we’re the ones causing it. A recent review paper from GEE’s Dr Ben Collen discusses the current loss of biodiversity and suggests that our main concerns are species and population declines, […]

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Defaunation in the Anthropocene
appeared first on GEE Research.

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Research Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment

The Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment brings together scientists with shared interests in genetics, evolutionary and environmental biology. 

It traces its origins to the Department of Comparative Anatomy, founded in 1826 and incorporates the Galton Laboratory. 

Current research in the Department includes evolutionary and environmental biology, genetics including human genetics, and systems and theoretical biology.

Next Departmental Seminar

The evolutionary dynamics of antibiotic resistance: insights from experimental evolution with pathogenic bacteria

Craig Maclean, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford
Wednesday, 8 October at 12noon
Venue TBA

Abstract

The rapid spread of antibiotic resistance in pathogenic bacteria is an elegant example of adaptation by natural selection that is undermining human health on a global scale by increasing the mortality rates and economic costs associated with bacterial disease. Given that exposure to high doses of antibiotic is rare and that resistance a carries a fitness cost, one of the main challenges in understanding the evolution of resistance has been to determine how resistance can be stably maintained in bacterial populations. I will address the following questions related to this problem: Why does resistance carry a cost? How and when will selection allow resistant strains to overcome the cost of resistance? And, finally, how do fitness costs and compensatory adaptation interact with antibiotic use to determine the stability of resistance? To address these questions, my group uses experimental evolution in the pathogenic bacterium P.aeruginosa combined with mathematical modeling, whole genome sequencing and transcriptome profiling. On a broader scale, this work provides important insights into the mechanisms and dynamics of adaptation, and the challenge of understanding evolution by horizontal gene transfer.

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