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Gee Research Blog

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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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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16 April 2013

GEE/CEE Seminar on mitochondria, hybrid breakdown and the origin of species


"Consequences of rapid mtDNA evolution: compensatory coadaptation, hybrid breakdown and speciation"


Speaker:

Ron Burton, Professor of Marine Biology, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego
Date & Time:
Wednesday, 17 April at 5pm
Venue: Medical Sciences AV Hill Lecture Theatre (map)
Host: Nick Lane (Ext 31385)


Abstract:

Despite its small size and limited gene content, the rapid evolution of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) has significant implications for the evolution of animal populations.  Aerobic metabolism requires all 13 of the mtDNA-encoded proteins in addition to >70 nuclear proteins.  In addition,  ~100 additional nuclear proteins are required for the transcription and translation of the mtDNA and must be imported into the mitochondria.  Consequently, there are many interactions between mtDNA and nucDNA that favor extensive intergenomic coadaptation.  When genetically divergent populations hybridize, coadaptation can be disrupted and lead to mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced fitness (hybrid breakdown). Interpopulation crosses between populations of the copepod Tigriopus californicus provide a good example of this scenario, as hybrid breakdown is due, in large measure, to intergenomic interactions affecting mitochondrial function (manifested in reduced ATP production and increased oxidative damage).  Recent work using transcriptomic analyses of both hybrid breakdown and population adaptation to thermal stress in Tigriopus will also be briefly discussed.

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