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Dating Mammalian Evolution

Fri, 28 Mar 2014 15:14:37 +0000

When the age of the dinosaurs ended around 65 million years ago, mammals stepped in to fill the gap, and the age of the placentals began. However, whether early placental mammals were already present on Earth before the demise of the dinosaurs has been the subject of a long standing debate. Recent research in GEE [...]

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The Delicate Balance of Effect and Response

Tue, 18 Feb 2014 11:50:36 +0000

We may not always be aware of it, but many wild plants, animals, fungi and even bacteria, provide crucial services to us which keep the ecosystems of Earth functioning. Environmental changes caused by human activities are now threatening many species, and those that cannot withstand these changes may be lost forever, potentially taking the services [...]

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It’s All in the Wrist

Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:18:20 +0000

The evolution of the primate wrist has been dramatic, enabling primates to adapt to a wide variety of lifestyles and walking styles, including tree-swinging, climbing and terrestrial walking both on four legs and two. In hominids, the evolution of the bipedal gait freed up the forelimbs for tool use, and the wrist evolved independently from [...]

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The Transcriptional Profile of A ‘Wingman’

Wed, 27 Nov 2013 14:25:48 +0000

In many species, males have special adaptations to attract females. From antlers to stalk-eyes, to bright plumage and beards, males across the animal kingdom work hard to look attractive to the opposite sex. In some species, looking good isn’t enough, though. Male wild turkeys need a less attractive ‘wingman’ to help him attract a woman. [...]

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Damage and Fidelity: The Role of the Female Germline in mtDNA Inheritance

Mon, 11 Nov 2013 15:13:12 +0000

Billions of years ago, one single-celled organism engulfed another, beginning a symbiotic interaction that would change live on Earth forever. The mitochondria are what remains of this symbiotic event, and are responsible for producing energy in all eukaryotic cells. Derived from a free-living organism, they carry their own genes, but these genes are at risk [...]

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Inaugural lecture date for three GEE professors

4 April 2011

We are pleased to announce that our three colleagues:  Jürg Bähler (Professor of Cellular Systems Biology), Max Telford (Professor of Zoology) and Kevin Fowler (Professor of Evolutionary Biology) gave their Inaugural Lectures on Wednesday 8 June 2011 starting at 5pm, in the Darwin Lecture Theatre, followed by a Celebratory Reception in the Wilkins JBR, Wilkins Building.

Prof Jürg Bähler's lecture was entitled: 'Messing about with yeast'.

Prof Max Telford's lecture was entitled:  'The Diet of Worms and other stories from the evolution of the animals'.

Prof Kevin Fowler's lecture was entitled:  'Sex, stalks and flies'.

Abstracts and photos taken at the event are below.

Links:

Bahler_Jurg


Prof Jürg Bähler: view profile

Telford_Max


Prof Max Telford:  view profile

Fowler_Kevin


Prof Kevin Fowler: view profile

'Messing about with yeast'

Prof Jürg Bähler

Abstract

This may sound sad, but I have worked with fission yeast throughout my scientific career, first on chromosome pairing as a student in Switzerland, then on cell shape as a postdoc in America and in England, where I got stuck. After becoming independent in 2000, I embraced genomics and started to analyse gene expression at a global level (but yet again, with fission yeast). We are now continuing our global research on the regulation, function and evolution of genomes at London’s Global University.

'The Diet of Worms and other stories from the evolution of the animals'

Prof Max Telford

Abstract

My research attempts to further our understanding of the evolution of the great diversity of animals - from lowly sponges and jelly fish to the many phlya of worms,  insects, molluscs and vertebrates.

Underlying all studies of animal evolution is a tree describing the evolutionary relationships between the different groups and much of my research  has involved refining the evolutionary tree of the animals.

My doctoral work was on a phylum of worms called the arrow worms which share features of embryology with a major division of the animals called the deuterostomes. The evolution of the deuterostomes has a special interest  for humans as we vertebrates, along with starfish, sea urchins and acorn worms, are part of this group.  

My doctoral work showed the arrow worms are not deuterostomes with the implication that the characters they share are either more ancient than either group or have evolved more than once. 

More recently, my group has shown another very undeuterostome-like group of flatworms - Xenoturbella - ARE deuterostomes. This surprising result tells us that these simple worms are our close relatives and that they must have lost much of the complexity of our common ancestor.

Our plan now is to try to understand   how Xenoturbella and its kin have lost these advanced features by looking at its complete genomic DNA sequence.

'Sex, stalks and flies'

Prof Kevin Fowler

Abstract

Throughout my research career, my twin obsessions have been evolutionary biology and insects. My doctoral and postdoctoral studies used fruitflies to focus on diverse topics including the evolution of body size, costs of reproduction and the consequences of population bottlenecks. Since coming to UCL in 1994, I have become increasingly devoted to studying the evolution of ornamental traits, using stalk-eyed flies. These charismatic creatures, in which the eyes and antennae are borne at the end of lateral head projections (eyestalks), have proven to be excellent model organisms for the study of multiple aspects of sexual selection. I will review key findings from a dual perspective on the attributes of the ornamental trait (male eyespan) and on female mate preference for males of exaggerated eyespan. 

Jurg Bahler
Jurg Bahler
Jurg Bahler
Max Telford
Max Telford
Max Telford
Kevin Fowler
Kevin Fowler
Max Telford, Kevin Fowler, Andrew Pomiankowski, Jurg Bahler


GEE colleagues at the Reception
GEE colleagues at the Reception
GEE colleagues at the Reception
David Murrell, Matt Piper and Astrid Wingler
Marg Glover and Helen Chatterjee
GEE colleagues at the Reception
GEE colleagues at the Reception
Photos taken by Jane Dempster, Executive Officer to Head of Department, GEE



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