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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
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Evolving Endemism in East Africa’s Sky Islands

Fri, 08 Aug 2014 14:16:32 +0000

The World’s biodiversity is not evenly distributed. Some regions are hot spots for species richness, and biologists have been trying better to understand why these regions are special and what drives evolution and diversification. A recent paper by GEE’s Dr Julia Day and recent PhD graduate Dr Siobhan Cox, investigated the diversification of White-Eye Birds […]

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Predicting Extinction Risk:The Importance of Life History and Demography

Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:46:17 +0000

The changing climate is no longer simply a concern for the future, it is a reality. Understanding how the biodiversity that we share our planet with will respond to climate change is a key step in developing long-term strategies to conserve it. Recent research by UCL CBER’s Dr Richard Pearson identifies the key characteristics that […]

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The Importance of Life History and Demography
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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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Evolutionary Distinctiveness and Conservation Priorities
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Ursula Mittwoch celebrates her 90th with colleagues, past and present

27 March 2014

Ursula Mittwoch 90th - Group PhotoUrsula Mittwoch & Steve JonesUrsula Mittwoch & Nick Lane

Professor Ursula Mittwoch, possibly one of UCL's longest standing associates, celebrated her 90th birthday with friends and colleagues from GEE, from the former Galton Laboratory and from the wider-UCL academic community.

As a PhD student in 1947, Ursula worked under Hans Kalmus, progressing to collaborate with Bette Robson and Harry Harris in the Galton Laboratory, and is well known for her work on sex determination and differentiation. After about 40 years researching human genetics, Ursula retired from paid employment in UCL in about 1990.  This didn’t stop her publishing and her latest paper (EMBO Reports 14, 588-592) was published in 2013.  Not only the oldest, Ursula is also the most reliable member of GEE, who rarely misses the weekly departmental coffee mornings.

Ursula has in recent years developed a strong interest in mitochondrial research and it was with great pleasure that Nick Lane was able to present her with a framed artwork on silk ‘Mitochondria in Action’ by Odra Noel.

John Allen, who met Ursula while he was a visiting professor in the department, pays tribute to Ursula in his blog citing from Ursula’s birthday speech ‘be kind to colleagues’.

Ursula Mittwoch, Sue Povey, Dallaw Swallow, Nick Lane, John Allen

(Main group photo:  Back row from left to right Yvonne Edwards, David Hopkinson, Andrew Pomiankowski, Dallas Swallow, John Allen, Debs Furness, John Linden.  Front row from left to right:  Edith Weiner, Sue Povey, June Rathbone, Ursula Mittwoch, Steve Jones, Ruth Dar, David Ridge, Nick Lane

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