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Gee Research Blog

Competitive Generosity Drives Charitable Donations

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:09:46 +0000

Unconditional generosity is a characteristic of humans on which we pride ourselves, and billions of dollars is donated to hundreds of thousands of charitable organisations every year. But look at it from an evolutionary perspective, and this trait seems difficult to explain. In some situations, giving may have evolved to advertise positive characteristics of the […]

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Annoucing the Winners of the Write About Research Competition

Fri, 10 Apr 2015 13:49:07 +0000

Thanks to everyone who entered our Write About Research competition. We received some great entries from GEE students and postdocs, covering a broad range of topics from conservation to genetics. The entries will be posted here over the coming months, so watch this space! The Winners are… Drum roll please … WINNER: David Curnick – […]

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Male Promiscuity Boosts Role of Chance in Sex Chromosome Evolution

Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:02:31 +0000

Humans, like all mammals and birds, determine sex with chromosomes. Whether a fertilised egg develops into a male or female depends on what chromosomes it carries Scientists have long recognised that genes evolve a little differently on the sex chromosomes, and recent research in GEE suggests this may be due to differing patterns of inheritance […]

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Sloths Move Slow, Evolve Fast

Wed, 11 Mar 2015 18:20:41 +0000

Sloths might be notorious for their leisurely pace of life, but research published last year shows they are no slow coaches when it comes to evolution. Sloths, as we know and love them, are small, slow-moving creatures found in the trees of tropical rainforests. But modern sloths are pretty odd compared to their extinct relatives. […]

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Write About Research – A GEE Research Blog Competition

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:28:43 +0000

The GEE Research blog communicates UCL science with a wider, non-specialist audience, by providing short summaries of recent research in the department of UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment. This provides an opportunity to engage with a broad audience, including other academics, students, members of the public, and even businesses and policy-makers. It is a great […]

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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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