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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

The silence of the genes? : The role of genetic and epigenetic effects in trait variation and evolution Seminar

4 February 2013
Building 85 Room 2207

For more information regarding this seminar, please telephone Beatrice Murphy on 023 8059 5374 or email .

Event details

Epigenetic mechanisms are now recognized as a fundamental source of variation for most phenotypes, not caused by differences in genotype, and thus acting as a separate or bridging layer between genetic and phenotypic variation.

Traditionally, evolutionary theory is almost entirely built upon a Fisherian view ascribing a paramount role to the genotype in phenotypic variation, evolution, and adaptation. Research in developmental plasticity, genomic imprinting, non-genetic inheritance as well as emerging data on gene regulation suggests that we have yet to fully integrate epigenetics both in a theoretical framework of evolutionary change and in empirical testing of competing hypotheses. However, there is currently a disconnect between theoretical work and empirical testing; it is unclear what the hypotheses are and how predictions should be tested. We need to establish what the current frontiers and analytical limitations are, and whether they are primarily statistical or technological? I will highlight key theories for the evolution of imprinting and give some examples of empirical research that attempt to establish how important imprinting is a variance source compared to genetic variation.

Dr Reinmar Hager

Speaker information

Dr Reinmar Hager, Lecturer. University of Manchester

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