December 2017 - January 2018

The Kalanchoë genome provides insights into convergent evolution and building blocks of crassulacean acid metabolism

Xiaohan Yang, Rongbin Hu, Hengfu Yin, Jerry Jenkins, James Hartwell, Susanna F. Boxall, Louisa V. Dever...

ABSTRACT - Crassulacean acid metabolism (CAM) is a water-use efficient adaptation of photosynthesis that has evolved independently many times in diverse lineages of flowering plants. We hypothesize that convergent evolution of protein sequence and temporal gene expression underpins the independent emergences of CAM from C3 photosynthesis.


Mating system manipulation and the evolution of sex-biased gene expression in Drosophila

Paris Veltsos 1,2, Yongxiang Fang3, Andrew R. Cossins3, Rhonda R. Snook 4,5 & Michael G. Ritchie 

ABSTRACT - Sex differences in dioecious animals are pervasive and result from gene expression differences. Elevated sexual selection has been predicted to increase the number and expression of male-biased genes, and experimentally imposing monogamy on Drosophila melanogaster has led to a relative feminisation of the transcriptome


Comparative Physiology of Nociception and Pain

Sneddon, L.U.

ABSTRACT - The study of diverse animal groups allows us to discern the evolution of the neurobiology of nociception. Nociception functions as an important alarm system alerting the individual to potential and actual tissue damage. All animals possess nociceptors, and, in some animal groups, it has been demonstrated that there are consistent physiological mechanisms underpinning the nociceptive system. This review considers the comparative biology of nociception and pain from an evolutionary perspective.


Insect temperature-body size trends common to laboratory, latitudinal and seasonal gradients are not found across altitudes

Curtis R. Horne, Andrew. G. Hirst, David Atkinson

ABSTRACT - Body size affects rates of most biological and ecological processes, from individual performance to ecosystem function, and is fundamentally linked to organism fitness. Within species, size at maturity can vary systematically with environmental temperature in the laboratory and across seasons, as well as over latitudinal gradients


October 2017 - November 2017 

The evolution of costly mate choice against segregation distorters 

Andri Manser, Anna K. Lindholm and Franz J.Weissing

ABSTRACT - The evolution of female preference for male genetic quality remains a controversial topic in sexual selection research. One well-known problem, known as the lek paradox, lies in understanding how variation in genetic quality is maintained in spite of natural selection and sexual selection against low-quality alleles. Here, we theoretically investigate a scenario where females pay a direct fitness cost to avoid males carrying an autosomal segregation distorter. We show that preference evolution is greatly facilitated under such circumstances


Physiological and behavioural evaluation of common anaesthesia practices in the rainbow trout

Kieran C.Pounder, Jennifer L.Mitchell, Jack S.Thomson, Tom G.Pottinger, Lynne U.Sneddon

ABSTRACT - Anaesthetic drugs are commonly administered to fish in aquaculture, research and veterinary contexts. Anaesthesia causes temporary absence of consciousness and may reduce the stress and/or pain associated with handling and certain invasive procedures. The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is a widely-used model species with relevance to both aquaculture and natural ecosystems. This study sought to establish the relative acute impact of commonly used anaesthetics on rainbow trout when used for anaesthesia or euthanasia by exploring their effects on aversion behaviour and stress physiology


September 2017 - October 2017

Report of Workshop on Euthanasia for Zebrafish—A Matter of Welfare and Science

Köhler Almut, Collymore Chereen, Finger-Baier Karin, Geisler Robert, Kaufmann Larissa, Pounder Kieran C., Schulte-Merker Stefan, Valentim Ana, Varga Zoltan M., Weiss Jürgen, and Strähle Uwe. Zebrafish. October 2017, ahead of print.

ABSTRACT - The increasing importance of zebrafish as a biomedical model organism is reflected by the steadily growing number of publications and laboratories working with this species. Regulatory recommendations for euthanasia as issued in Directive 2010/63/EU are, however, based on experience with fish species used for food production and do not take the small size and specific physiology of zebrafish into account


The impact of social context on behaviour and the recovery from welfare challenges in zebrafish, Danio rerio

Lewis J.WhiteJack S.ThomsonKieran C.PounderRobert C.ColemanLynne U.Sneddona   

ABSTRACT - Understanding how animals experience stress in a laboratory environment is crucial for improving their welfare. Increasing numbers of fish are being used in scientific studies and further research is required to ensure appropriate conditions are used to promote good conduct and correct housing as well as guaranteeing scientifically valid results


Divergence of developmental trajectories is triggered interactively by early social and ecological experience in a cooperative breeder

Stefan Fischer, Lena Bohn, Evelyne Oberhummer, Cecilia Nyman, Barbara Taborsky

Cooperative breeders feature the highest level of social complexity among vertebrates. Environmental constraints foster the evolution of this form of social organization, selecting for both well-developed social and ecological competences. Cooperative breeders pursue one of two alternative social trajectories


Transcription-associated compositional skews in Drosophila genes

Juraj Berman, Andrea. J. Betancourt, Claus Vogl

ABSTRACT - In many organisms, local deviations from Chargaff's second parity rule are observed around replication and transcription start sites and within intron sequences. Here, we use expression data as well as a whole-genome dataset of nearly 200 haplotypes to investigate such compositional skews in Drosophila melanogaster genes.


Optimised conditions for handling and transport of male Anopheles arabiensis: effects of low temperature, compaction, and ventilation on male quality

Nicole J. Culbert, Rosemary S. Lees, Marc J.B. Vreysen, Alistair C. Darby, Jeremie R.L. Gilles

ABSTRACT - Developing optimal conditions for handling and transport of sterile male mosquitoes, prior to their release, is critical for the sterile insect technique (SIT) to be successful. No data currently exist for Anopheles arabiensis Patton (Diptera: Culicidae) concerning the effects of chilling at different temperatures and for different time lengths on subsequent survival.


The evolution of gonad expenditure and gonadosomatic index (GSI) in male and female broadcast-spawning invertebrates

Geoff A. Parker, Steven A. Ramm, Jussi Lehtonen, Jonathan M. Henshaw

ABSTRACT - Sedentary broadcast-spawning marine invertebrates, which release both eggs and sperm into the water for fertilization, are of special interest for sexual selection studies. They provide unique insight into the early stages of the evolutionary succession leading to the often-intense operation of both pre- and post-mating sexual selection in mobile gonochorists


Smell or vision? The use of different sensory modalities in predator discrimination

Stefan Fischer, Evelyne Oberhummer, Filipa Cunha-Saraiva, Nina Gerber, Barbara Taborsky

ABSTRACT - Theory predicts that animals should adjust their escape responses to the perceived predation risk. The information animals obtain about potential predation risk may differ qualitatively depending on the sensory modality by which a cue is perceived.


August 2017

Molecular heterogeneity in major urinary proteins of Mus musculus subspecies: Potential candidates involved in speciation
Hurst, J.L., Beynon, R.J., Armstrong, S.D., Davidson, A.J., Roberts, S.A., Gómez-Baena, G., Smadja, C.M., Ganem, G. (2017) Molecular heterogeneity in major urinary proteins of Mus musculus subspecies: Potential candidates involved in speciation. Scientific reports. doi: 10.1038/srep44992

Seasonal body size reductions with warming covary with major body size gradients in arthropod species
Horne, C.R., Hirst, A.G., Atkinson, D. (2017) Seasonal body size reductions with warming covary with major body size gradients in arthropod species. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. doi: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0238

Using exclusion rate to unify niche and neutral perspectives on coexistence
Carmel, Y., Suprunenko, Y.F., Kunin, W.E., Kent, R., Belmaker, J., Bar-Massada, A., Cornell, S.J. (2017) Using exclusion rate to unify niche and neutral perspectives on coexistence. Oikos. doi: 10.1111/oik.04380

Offspring development and life-history variation in a water flea depends upon clone-specific integration of genetic, non-genetic and environmental cues
Harney, E., Paterson, S., Plaistow, S.J. Offspring development and life-history variation in a water flea depends upon clone-specific integration of genetic, non-genetic and environmental cues. Functional Ecology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12887

Sexual healing: mating induces a protective immune response in bumblebees
Barribeau, S.M., Schmid-Hempel, P. (2017) Sexual healing: mating induces a protective immune response in bumblebees. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. doi: 10.1111/1365-2435.12887