Wasp Venom Research makes the Cover of Current Biology

Nasonia parasitoids wasps, minute insects that inject venom and lay their eggs on fly pupae, are pictured in the Goergen Hall lab of Nathaniel & Helen Wisch Professor of Biology John (Jack) H. Werren May 26, 2017. Were, along with postdoctoral fellow Ellen Martinson uses the rapidly evolving venom repertoires of these parasitoid wasps (including the ectoparasitoid model Nasonia vitripennis, pictured) to investigate the question of how new genes are recruited for venom function. In contrast to expected model of gene duplication, they find that many venom genes evolve by the co-option of single copy non-venom genes. These findings could have broad implications for how new gene functions evolve, as co-option of single copy genes may be a common but relatively understudying mechanism for the evolution of new gene functions, particularly in tissues subject to rapid evolutionary change. // photo by J. Adam Fenster / University of Rochester

Ellen Martinson, Mrinalini, Yogeshwar Kelkar, Ching-Ho Chang, and Jack Werren’s recent paper in Current Biology was featured in the Rochester Newscenter. Their research uses wasp venom to propose a new idea about how genes can gain new functional roles. The UR write-up has great photos and a video explaining their study, check it out.

Survey: Do You Require Access to BioOne2 Journals?

A couple of years ago, the University purchased access to the BioOne catalogue of journals.  The most important title in this catalogue for our department is Evolution, and in my view, this journal alone is worth the rather steep cost of subscription (a complete list of titles is on-line).  The library is now debating whether to shell out another chunk of change for access to titles in the BioOne2 catalogue.  Many of the journals in this catalogue are museum publication that some of us use (e.g., Breviora, Fieldiana Zoology, Bulletin of Carnegie Museum of Natural History), but maybe not with enough frequency to justify the cost of subscription. Perhaps we need to subscribe to keep up on intelligent design research – this catalogue includes the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington that famously published an article by the director of the Discovery Institute. Let me know your thoughts.

Miss USA Supports Evolution

I’m happy to report that the new Miss USA is “a huge science geek” who believes in the “big bang theory and, you know, the evolution of humans, you know, throughout, you know, time.”

Look, I realize that she’s no wordsmith, but she sounds like genius relative to her competitors.

Spring 2011 Topics

Topics this semester will meet on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10 am in 316 Hutch.  Drs. Garrigan, Orr and Werren (respectively) will lead the sections outlined below:

Introduction to Coalescent Theory (Garrigan)
Jan 19 – Fundamentals of the coalescent
Jan 24 – Genetic variation and the coalescent
Jan 26 – Genetic variation and the coalescent, pt. II
Jan 31 – The structured coalescent
Feb 2 – The structured coalescent, pt. II
Feb 7 – Separation of time scales
Feb 9 – The coalesecent with recombination
Feb 14 – Coalescent based inference

Introduction to Classical Population Genetics (Orr)
Feb 16 – Mar 28

Levels of Selection, Selfish DNA, & Genetic Conflict (Werren)
Mar 30 – Apr 27

Lecture Schedule for Fall 2010 Topics Course

We have a tentative schedule available for students enrolled in the graduate core course this fall (BIO473). This semester will feature field ecology (Ramsey), evolution and development (Lambert), phylogenetics and comparative methods (Glor), and philosophy of evolutionary biology (Weslake).

9/2 – Introduction to the graduate program
9/7 – Field Ecology (Ramsey)
9/9 – Field Ecology (Ramsey)
9/14 – Field Ecology (Ramsey)
9/16 – Field Ecology (Ramsey)
9/21 – Field Ecology (Ramsey)
9/23 – Field Ecology (Ramsey)
9/28 – Field Ecology (Ramsey)
9/30 – Field Ecology (Ramsey)
10/5 – Field Ecology (Ramsey)
10/7 – Evolution & Development (Lambert)
10/12 – Evolution & Development (Lambert)
10/14 – Evolution & Development (Lambert)
10/19 – Evolution & Development (Lambert)
10/21 – Evolution & Development (Lambert)
10/26 – Phylogenetics and Comparative Methods (Glor)
10/28 – Phylogenetics and Comparative Methods (Glor)
11/2 – Phylogenetics and Comparative Methods (Glor)
11/4 – Phylogenetics and Comparative Methods (Glor)
11/9 – Phylogenetics and Comparative Methods (Glor)
11/11 – Phylogenetics and Comparative Methods (Glor)
11/16 – Phylogenetics and Comparative Methods (Glor)
11/18 – Phylogenetics and Comparative Methods (Glor)
11/23 – Phylogenetics and Comparative Methods (Glor)
11/25 – THANKSGIVING
11/30 – Philosophy of Biology (Weslake)
12/2 – Philosophy of Biology (Weslake)
12/7 – Philosophy of Biology (Weslake)
12/9 – Philosophy of Biology (Weslake)

Missing Posts

Apologies for the fact that three posts from Monday have mysteriously disappeared.  I have yet to get an explanation for why this happened, but it seems to have been the result of recent upgrades to the University’s web server.  I’m going to try to recreate these posts as time permits.