Tuesday 8 May 2018

Biomaths Colloquium - 11/05/2018

BioMaths Colloquium Series - 2017/18

  11 May 2018 - 3pm Maths Seminar Room

(room 224 Talbot Building 2nd floor)

Genes as cues: integration of genetic and epigenetic information from a Darwinian perspective

Dr Sasha Dall

(BiosciencesUniversity of Exeter, UK) 


Our BioMaths Colloquium Series continues with a seminar by Dr Sasha Dall, from Biosciences at University of Exeter (UK). Sasha is an Associate Professor of Mathematical Ecology, broadly interested in how animals cope with the risks and opportunities of the uncertain natural environment, identifying their information acquisition and risk management strategies and their ecological and evolutionary consequences. Sasha distinctively works at the interface between biology and mathematics, have hold research positions at both Biology and Mathematics departments in the UK, US, and Israel. Work in his research groups ranges from the development of theoretical models, to experimental work with bird aviaries, to observational field studies on vertebrates.

The development of multicellular organisms involves a delicate interplay between genetic and environmental influences. It is often useful to think of developmental systems as integrating available sources of information about current conditions to produce organisms. Genes and inherited physiology provide cues, as does the state of the environment during development. The integration systems themselves are under genetic control, and subject to Darwinian selection, so we expect them to evolve to produce organisms that fit well with current ecological (including social) conditions. I argue for the scientific value of this explicitly informational perspective by providing detailed examples of how it can elucidate taxonomically diverse phenomena. I also present a general framework for linking genetic and phenotypic variation from an informational perspective. This application of Darwinian logic at the organismal level can elucidate genetic influences on phenotypic variation in novel and counterintuitive ways.

The discussions will continue over biscuits and tea/coffee after the seminar. 
Hope to see many of you!

For the list of forthcoming seminars, see here

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