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It Pays to Be Different:Evolutionary Distinctiveness and Conservation Priorities

Tue, 15 Jul 2014 13:15:25 +0000

The world is currently experiencing an extinction crisis. A mass extinction on a scale not seen since the dinosaurs. While conservationists work tirelessly to try and protect the World’s biodiversity, it will not be possible to save everything, and it is important to focus conservation efforts intelligently. Evolutionary distinctiveness is a measure of how isolated [...]

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Synthetic Biology and Conservation

Mon, 07 Jul 2014 16:20:18 +0000

Synthetic biology, a hybrid between Engineering and Biology, is an emerging field of research promising to change the way we think about manufacturing, medicine, food production, and even conservation and sustainability. A review paper released this month in Oryx, authored by Dr Kent Redford, Professor William Adams, Dr Rob Carlson, Bertina Ceccarelli and CBER’s Professor [...]

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Measure Twice, Cut Once: Quantifying Biases in Sexual Selection Studies

Wed, 25 Jun 2014 10:44:30 +0000

Bateman’s principles are conceptually quite simple, but form the basis of our understanding of sexual selection across the animal kingdom. First proposed in 1948, Bateman’s three principles posit that sexual selection is more intense in males than in females for three reasons: 1) males show more variability in the number of mates they have (mating [...]

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Technology for Nature?

Mon, 16 Jun 2014 13:23:54 +0000

Many of our greatest technological advances have tended to mark disaster for nature. Cars guzzle fossil fuels and contribute to global warming; industrialised farming practices cause habitat loss and pollution; computers and mobile phones require harmful mining procedures to harvest rare metals. But increasingly, ecologists and conservation biologists are asking whether we can use technology [...]

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Nice Flies Don’t Finish Last: Meiotic Drive and Sexual Selection in Stalk-Eyed Flies

Thu, 12 Jun 2014 15:54:47 +0000

While it might seem as though our genes are all working together for our own good, some of them are actually rather selfish. Scientists have known about ‘selfish genetic elements’ for nearly a century, but research to understand their behaviour and effects is ongoing. Recent research in GEE reveals how sexually selected traits are signalling [...]

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Professor Lorna Casselton CBE FRS (July 1938 – February 2014)

25 February 2014

It is with great sadness that we report the death of Professor Lorna Casselton CBE, FRS, who passed away on the evening of Thursday 13th February.  She was an alumnus of UCL having obtained both her BSc and then her PhD in 1964.  Lorna carried out her PhD on Fungal Genetics under the supervision of Prof Dan Lewis.  

Lorna Casselton - Old Life Boat House 1965

During the summer months Lorna volunteered her time to help out with undergraduate field study courses at the Old Life Boat House, at Blakeney Point, North Norfolk. Hungry undergraduates returning from a day’s field study work in the Blakeney Point marshes and sand-dunes will remember her hearty dinners prepared in the Old Life Boat House rudimentary kitchen.  


She was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science by UCL in September 2010. Professor Casselton was well known globally for her work on the genetic and molecular analysis of mushrooms and worked for the Royal Society as Vice President and Foreign Secretary from 2006 – 2010. She received her CBE in the 2012 Birthday Honours list for services to fungal genetic and international science.  

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