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Ecology & Evolution projects

Please try to identify a research project that suits you.  This is to ensure a proper match between your research interests and your prospective supervisor. We do not encourage applications to more than one project however we would encourage informal discussions with different project supervisors to help you decide which project to apply to. Contact details for academic staff can be found on each project description.

Metabolic Mechanisms of (Photo)Synthetic Symbiosis Supervisors: Prof Michael Brockhurst, Dr Jamie Wood & Dr Mike Haydon

The chloroplast originated when, some 600-1600 million years ago, a eukaryotic cell engulfed a free-living cyanobacterium. While comparative genomics provides a picture of the end-products of this event, it is not possible by this approach to recapitulate and understand those events in deep evolutionary time which stabilised this important endosymbiosis. This project will take an experimental approach, engineering a synthetic symbiosis between a single-celled eukaryote and a cyanobacterium, to resolve by genetics, modeling and single-cell metabolomics the metabolic underpinnings of the origination of a photosynthetic endosymbiosis.

Supervisors: Prof Mike Brockhurst, Dr Jamie Wood & Dr Mike Haydon

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: michael.brockhurst@york.ac.uk

Please read the 'How to apply' tab before submitting your application.

 

Genome evolution and comparative genomics in Lepidoptera. Supervisors: Dr Kanchon Dasmahapatra & Prof Peter Young

Comparative analysis of multiple related genomes is a powerful means of understanding genome evolution. Lepidoptera, moths and butterflies, comprise ~10% of insect species diversity, and include major agricultural pest species and pollinators. They have been ‘model’ organisms in many disciplines including conservation biology, systematics, developmental biology and ecological genetics. There are currently five published lepidopteran genomes, with on-going genomes for ~20 other species.

This project will apply bioinformatics approaches for de novo identification of coding and non-coding functional elements by comparing multiple lepidopteran genomes. Identification of functional elements in this important group of insects will then allow investigation of functional elements underlying diversification in the Lepidoptera and the evolution of interesting gene families such as those involved in olfaction, immunity, detoxification and pheromone synthesis.

References:
K.K. Dasmahapatra et al. 2012 A butterfly genome reveals promiscuous exchange of mimicry adaptations among species. Nature 487: 94-98.
Stark et al. 2007 Discovery of functional elements in 12 Drosophila genomes using evolutionary signatures. Nature 450: 219-232.
http://lepbase.org/

Supervisors: Dr Kanchon Dasmahapatra & Prof Peter Young

To discuss your suitability for this project please email: kanchon.dasmahapatra@york.ac.uk

Please read the 'How to apply' tab before submitting your application.