Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Biosciences Seminar Speaker 04 June 2015

Biosciences Seminar Series - Spring 2015
04 June 2015 - 1pm - Zoology Museum (Wallace 129)

Is genetic diversity really so important?

Dr. Sonia Consuegra

 Photo by D. Scott Taylor at Wikimedia Commons

This week's seminar will be by Dr Sonia Consuegra del Olmo, a population geneticist and Associate Professor at our Department of Biosciences at Swansea University. Sonia's research concerns Molecular Evolution, Evolutionary genetics, such as the Evolution of mating systems (e.g. here), Biological invasions (e.g. here) and Aquaculture and Conservation of salmonids (see here). Today's talk will present research carried out using a rather unique selfing vertebrate study system, the Mangrove killifish (Kryptolebias marmoratuse.g. see here).

Sonia did her PhD at the University of Cantabria (Spain), followed by postdoctoral positions and research fellowships at the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London and the University of St Andrews, followed by a lectureship position at Aberystwyth University in 2008. In 2013 then Sonia joined Biosciences at Swansea University as a senior lecturer. 

Genetic variability provides the basis for adaptation and speciation, and its importance is universally recognised. Loss of genetic diversity is mainly related to population size, and it is assumed to have detrimental consequences for fitness, particularly when low genetic diversity is related to inbreeding. There is also increasing evidence that genetic diversity could be important not only for evolutionary processes but also for ecological processes. 

So, how do some populations manage to thrive despite low levels of genetic diversity and/or very low population sizes? Epigenetic variation could explain it if it compensates, at least in part, the loss of genetic diversity in some inbred populations. We are investigating the relationship between genetic and epigenetic diversity and fitness using a really cool model, a naturally inbred fish that can self-fertilise and maintain populations of almost genetically identical individuals.

Hope to see many of you - everyone most welcome to attend!

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