Professor Alexei Maklakov (School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia)
Professor Cock van Oosterhout (School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia)
Understanding the processes that maintain genetic variation is fundamental in evolutionary biology and important in conservation. Recent findings in our lab showed that sperm in the ejaculate of a male vary in their performance and that some fertile sperm sire fitter offspring than others. Furthermore, we demonstrated that these sperm phenotypes are a characteristic of the underlying haploid genetic variation within the gametes themselves. Given these exciting findings it is now our aim to establish how selection on sperm traits and genomes within an ejaculate may contribute to the generation and maintenance of genetic variation within populations.
The successful applicant will expand on our recent findings, studying how possible trade-offs between the haploid gametes and the diploid organisms can contribute to the maintenance of genetic variation. Zebrafish are perhaps the best vertebrate model system to examine this question at both a proximate (functional) and fundamental (evolutionary) level. These studies will be carried out in a brand new, state of the art zebrafish facility on the UEA campus and using molecular and bioinformatics tools giving the opportunity to gain experience in both wet and dry labs.
Apart from participating in the excellent ARIES DTP core training programme, you will acquire training and hands-on experience in Experimental Design, Next Generation Sequencing and Bioinformatics, all great prerequisites for future employment. You will take part in lab and departmental seminars and journal clubs and participate in national and international meetings and conferences to present yourself and your results.