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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 […]

The post Write About Research – A GEE Research Blog Competition appeared first on GEE Research.

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Was Fermentation Key to Yeast Diversification?

Tue, 17 Feb 2015 15:30:43 +0000

From bread to beer, yeast has shaped our diets and our recreation for centuries. Recent research in GEE shows how humans have shaped the evolution of this important microorganism. As well as revealing the evolutionary origins of modern fission yeast, the new study published in Nature Genetics this month shows how techniques developed for detecting […]

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Planning for the Future – Resilience to Extreme Weather

Thu, 15 Jan 2015 15:13:14 +0000

As climate change progresses, extreme weather events are set to increase in frequency, costing billions and causing immeasurable harm to lives and livelihoods. GEE’s Professor Georgina Mace contributed to the recent Royal Society report on “Resilience to Extreme Weather”, which predicts the future impacts of increasing extreme weather events, and evaluates potential strategies for improving […]

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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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