News

2018

© Schmitz et al.

Jonathan Schmitz and Prof. Erich Bornberg-Bauer from the Molecular Evolution & Bioinformatics goup at the IEB published a new paper titled "Incipient de novo genes can evolve from frozen accidents which escaped rapid transcript turnover" in Nature Ecology and Evolution.

Here is the abstract of the publication:
"A recent surge of studies have suggested that many novel genes arise de novo from previously noncoding DNA and not by duplication. However, most studies concentrated on longer evolutionary time scales and rarely considered protein structural properties. Therefore, it remains unclear how these properties are shaped by evolution, depend on genetic mechanisms and influence gene survival. Here we compare open reading frames (ORFs) from high coverage transcriptomes from mouse and another four mammals covering 160 million years of evolution. We find that novel ORFs pervasively emerge from noncoding regions but are rapidly lost again, while relatively fewer arise from the divergence of coding sequences but are retained much longer. We also find that a subset (14%) of the mouse-specific ORFs bind ribosomes and are potentially translated, showing that such ORFs can be the starting points of gene emergence. Surprisingly, disorder and other protein properties of young ORFs hardly change with gene age in short time frames. Only length and nucleotide composition change significantly. Thus, some transcribed de novo genes resemble ‘frozen accidents’ of randomly emerged ORFs that survived initial purging. This perspective complies with very recent studies indicating that some neutrally evolving transcripts containing random protein sequences may be translated and be viable starting points of de novo gene emergence."


Click here for the related WWU press release "BIOINFORMATICIANS EXAMINE NEW GENES THE MOMENT THEY ARE BORN"

Jonathan F. Schmitz, Kristian K. Ullrich and Erich Bornberg-Bauer (2018): Incipient de novo genes can evolve from frozen accidents which escaped rapid transcript turnover. Nature Ecology and Evolution; Published: 10 September 2018, DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0639-7.

Jahrestagung 2018 der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Limnologie e. V.

Die Hochschule Rhein-Waal (HSRW) und die Deutsche Gesellschaft für Limnologie (DGL) freuen sich, Sie zur 34. Jahrestagung der DGL an den Niederrhein einladen zu dürfen. Die diesjährige Jahrestagung wird am 10.–14. September 2018 am Campus Kamp-Lintfort (Kreis Wesel) der Hochschule Niederrhein stattfinden.

Unter dem Motto „Limnologie am Niederrhein: Wissen, Wirtschaft, Wege und Wildnis“ wollen wir uns besonders den vielfältigen Nutzungen der Gewässer und ihres Umfeldes annehmen, die zugleich Belastungen wie Chancen für ihre Entwicklung sein können.

Mehr Informationen gibt es auf der offiziellen Veranstaltungsseite.

New paper by Bernadou et al.

© Bernadou et al.

Lukas Schrader co-authored a paper titled "Stress and early experience underlie dominance status and division of labour in a clonal insect".

"Cooperation and division of labour are fundamental in the ‘major transitions’ in evolution. While the factors regulating cell differentiation in multi-cellular organisms are quite well understood, we are just beginning to unveil the mechanisms underlying individual specialization in cooperative groups of animals. Clonal ants allow the study of which factors influence task allocation without confounding variation in genotype and morphology. Here, we subjected larvae and freshly hatched workers of the clonal ant Platythyrea
punctata
to different rearing conditions and investigated how these manipulations affected division of labour among pairs of oppositely treated, same-aged clonemates. High rearing temperature, physical stress, injury and malnutrition increased the propensity of individuals to become subordinate foragers rather than dominant reproductives. This is reflected in changed gene regulation: early stages of division of labour were associated with different expression of genes involved in nutrient signalling pathways, metabolism and the phenotypic response to environmental stimuli. Many of these genes appear to be capable of responding to a broad range of stressors. They might link environmental stimuli to behavioural and phenotypic changes and could therefore be more broadly involved in caste differentiation in social insects. Our experiments also shed light on the causes of  behavioural variation among genetically identical individuals."


For the full paper click here.

New paper by Buellesbach et al.

Fig.jpeg
© Buellesback et al.

Jan Buellesbach recently published a new paper on cuticular hydrocarbons and their potential role in sexual signaling and species discrimination cues in parasitoid wasps.

Here is an excerpt from the abstract:
"We found a surprising degree of either unspecific or insufficient sexual signaling when cuticular hydrocarbons are singled out as recognition cues. Most strikingly, the cosmopolitan species Nasonia vitripennis, expected to experience enhanced selection pressure to discriminate against other co-occurring parasitoids, did not discriminate against CHC of the phylogenetically distant species Trichomalopsis sarcophagae. Focusing on the latter species, in turn, it became apparent that CHC are even insufficient as the sole cue triggering sexual behavior, hinting at the requirement of additional, synergistic sexual cues particularly important in this species. Finally, in the phylogenetically and chemically most divergent species Muscidifurax uniraptor, we intriguingly found both CHC-based sexual signaling as well as species discrimination behavior intact although this species is naturally parthenogenetic with sexual reproduction only occurring under laboratory conditions."

For the full paper, click here.

New review by Schrader & Schmitz on transposable elements

Unnamed
© Schrader & Schmitz

A new review by Lukas Schrader and Jürgen Schmitz was recently published on how transposable elements my lead to adaptive changes. The full paper is available here.

"The growing knowledge about the influence of transposable elements (TEs) on (a) long‐term genome and transcriptome evolution; (b) genomic, transcriptomic and epigenetic variation within populations; and (c) patterns of somatic genetic differences in individuals continues to spur the interest of evolutionary biologists in the role of TEs in adaptive evolution. As TEs can trigger a broad range of molecular variation in a population with potentially severe fitness and phenotypic consequences for individuals, different mechanisms evolved to keep TE activity in check, allowing for a dynamic interplay between the host, its TEs and the environment in evolution. Here, we review evidence for adaptive phenotypic changes associated with TEs and the basic molecular mechanisms by which the underlying genetic changes arise: (a) domestication, (b) exaptation, (c) host gene regulation, (d) TE‐mediated formation of intronless gene copies—so‐called retrogenes and (e) overall increased genome plasticity. Furthermore, we review and discuss how the stress‐dependent incapacitation of defence mechanisms against the activity of TEs might facilitate adaptive responses to environmental challenges and how such mechanisms might be particularly relevant in species frequently facing novel environments, such as invasive, pathogenic or parasitic species."

The picture shows the genome wide dispersion of transposons within the genome of C. obscuris (queen of C. obscuris pictured in the center).



New paper by Demandt et al. & Interview with Dr. J. Scharsack in "dlf - Forschung Aktuell"

Stickle Parasite
© J. P. Scharsack

The stickleback part of the "Animal Evolutionary Ecology" group just released a new paper on how infected sticklebacks shift the behaviour of uninfected sticklebacks towards a bolder behaviour. In connection with the new paper, Dr. Jörn Scharsack was interviewed by the Deutschlandfunk (dlf) for the "Forschung aktuell" broadcast about the findings of this study. The interview will be broadcasted today at 16:35 on the Deutschlandfunk and will be available here on the official "Forschung aktuell" webpage directly after the broadcast.

For the official WWU announcement of the paper click here. There are articles about the paper in "The Atlantic" and "United Press International". The German public international broadcast service "Deutsche Welle" (DW) also reported on this paper, see here.


Nicolle Demandt, Benedikt Saus, Ralf H. J. M. Kurvers, Jens Krause, Joachim Kurtz, Jörn Peter Scharsack: Parasite-infected sticklebacks increase the risk-taking behavior of uninfected group members. Proceedings of the Royal Society B; DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.0956

3rd HFSP Programme Grant for IEB PI Prof. Erich Bornberg-Bauer

2018-04-09 Hfsp Grant Bornberg-bauer
© Portrait: WWU/Peter Grewer; Termites: CSIRO, licensed under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/

Prof. Dr. Erich Bornberg-Bauer has been awarded with a prestigious Program Grant by the International Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP) Organization. The HFSP’s collaborative Research Grants are given for a broad range of projects under the umbrella theme “Complex mechanisms of living organisms”. The program funds only cutting-edge, risky projects and provides 3 years of support for international teams involving at least two countries. The selection process is highly competitive: Out of 770 proposals from 50 different countries only 31 have been selected after a multi-level selection process. Prof. Bornberg-Bauer is part of a team that will investigate the role of diet in long-lived termite reproductives. Each team member receives on average 110,000 – 125,000 USD per year. It is the third HFSP grant for Prof. Bornberg-Bauer who was selected by the HFSP Organization already in 2006 and 2013. Press release by the WWU

7th MGSE Symposium was held

2018-03-21 Mgse Symposium 2018
© WWU/MGSE

The 7th MGSE Symposium was held on 21 – 22 March 2018 at the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity at the University of Münster. Around 60 participants attended the two-day event which again offered the graduate students the opportunity to present their research in an oral presentation or a poster. For the first time, also PhD students from the Research Training Group EvoPAD – who are associated to the MGSE – were invited to share their first results, to network with evolutionary biologists in and around Münster, and to gain presenting experience. The programme was completed by talks of four MGSE Principal Investigators and three excellent keynote speakers: On the first day, Michael Lynch – member of the National Academy of Sciences and famous for his work supporting neutral theories of evolution – focussed on evolution at the molecular level. On the second day, Leo Beukeboom and Paula Stockley gave insights into the evolution of sex determination systems and post-copulatory sexual selection.
We would like to thank all presenters and guests who helped making the MGSE symposium a great event again, showing off the diverse research within the graduate school. Programme and pictures...

The convergent evolution of termite eusociality

G12
© BornbergLab

A study conducted by the research group of Prof Erich Bornberg-Bauer together with several collaborators from Europe and the USA has been published in the March issue of Nature ecology & evolution. In this article they provide evidence that major changes in gene regulation and the evolution of sophisticated chemical communication accompanied the emergence of termites - which are essentially eusocial cockroaches. Many of these results parallel molecular mechanisms of eusocial evolution in Hymenoptera (e.g. bees, ants and wasps). However, the specific solutions are remarkably different, thus revealing a striking case of convergence in one of the major evolutionary transitions in biological complexity.

Mark C. Harrison, Evelien Jongepier, ... , Erich Bornberg-Bauer "Hemimetabolous genomes reveal molecular basis of termite eusociality." Nature ecology & evolution (2018): 1. doi:10.1038/s41559-017-0459-1

EvoPAD welcomes Jürgen Gadau as new member

© WWU/EvoPAD; Nasonia: AG Gadau

Good news from the DFG: The Grants Committee accepted Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gadau as additional Principal Investigator of EvoPAD. The RTG will be provided with funding for another PhD student including equipment costs. The decision of the Grants Committee is based on very positive peer reviews of the proposal which has been submitted to the DFG in October 2017. Prof. Gadau is appreciated as a leading figure in the field of sociogenomics, with an excellent track record and a high profile research portfolio. The project of Prof. Gadau will try to identify and understand the gene regulatory networks that keep the interaction between nuclear and mitochondrial encoded genes functioning. More specifically, the project will focus on the mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation system (OXPHOS) in Nasonia and how its evolution is linked to mitochondrial capacity, metabolic rates, and hybrid incompatibility in this parasitoid wasp genus. The project is supposed to start in April 2018. Together with Prof. Gadau, 13 Principal Investigators are now involved in the doctoral training within EvoPAD.

ETT-Fellow Chris Smith publishes study supported by the MGSE

© WWU/MGSE

ETT-Fellow Prof. Dr. Chris Smith has now published a study which was supported by the Evolution Think Tank of the MGSE. In their work, Prof. Smith and his co-authors identify a highly conserved expression pattern in an insect-only gene family, the Osiris genes, that is essential for development, but also plays a significant role in phenotypic plasticity and in immunity/ toxicity responses. Chris Smith has been a Fellow of the Evolution Think Tank from May to June 2017. The publication can be found here: Smith CR, Morandin C, Noureddine M & Pant S (2018) Conserved roles of osiris genes in insect development, polymorphism and protection. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 10.1111/jeb.13238 [doi]

PhD students launch MGSE magazine "The Eyebrow"

© WWU/MGSE

The MGSE PhD students proudly present the very first issue of The Eyebrow – a magazine for and by PhD students of the MGSE. “It is a magazine written, edited, formatted, and ultimately yielded by PhD students of the Münster Graduate School of Evolution. We do not aim to inform, yet we will. We aim not to elucidate, but we will. We do, however, aim to entertain, by letting thoughts run freely,” describes Editor-in-Chief April Snøfrid Kleppe the vision of the magazine in the issue’s editorial. The magazine features reportages from different MGSE groups, news of future and passed events, essays as well as cartoons and riddles, providing beautiful distraction for long days in the lab. The Eyebrow is currently the only student paper at the WWU and is planned to be published quarterly. The fact that the first issue turned out as well as it is shows the potential of the upcoming issues. To convince yourself, you can pick up your copy of The Eyebrow in the MGSE office building in Hüfferstr. 1a. A PDF version of the magazine will be available soon.

Climate change as a possible driver of invasion and differential in HSP70 expression in two genetically distinct populations of the invasive killer shrimp, Dikerogammarus villosus

Dv2 Bearb
© MeyerLab

Global climate change is known to affect physiological processes in charge of cellular stress response. That often results in forcing many organisms to shift their biogeographic distribution ranges. It also holds true for euryoecious and highly invasive species like the killer shrimp, Dikerogammarus villosus. In this study we compare the level of response to thermal stress in two genetically diversified populations of the amphipod D. villosus on the cellular level, namely HSP70 expression. The results show clear difference in HSP70 expression, that can be a direct consequence of the different climatic conditions both populations faced along their invasion routes. We conclude that the eastern population of D. villosus is more sensitive to thermal stress than the western population, hence its invasion potential may be lower than that of the latter. Considering the thermal tolerance of both populations and global warming, we can make some predictions about further spread of D. villosus, including the possibility of an emergence of the super-invader that may arise after cross-breeding of both populations, imposing even larger threat to the freshwater ecosystems.

Hupało, K., Riss, H.W., Grabowsk,i M., Thiel, J., Bącela-Spychalska, K., Meyer, E.I. (2018): Climate change as a possible driver of invasion and differential in HSP70 expression in two genetically distinct populations of the invasive killer shrimp, Dikerogammarus villosus. Biological Invasions, https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-018-1679-2

Projektmodul - Vorstellung der Arbeitsgruppen

07.02.2018 - 18 Uhr - Sozialraum des IEB
Ieb Winter2017b
© Peter Lessmann

Parasiten - Global Player der Ökosysteme

Ql Stichling
© IEB - Animal Evolutionary Ecology Group


Joachim Kurtz and Jörn Scharsack contributed to a radio broadcast on the role of parasites as "global players" in ecosystems called "Parasiten - Global Player der Ökosysteme" by Rainer B. Langen. It will air Wednesday the 10.01.2018 at 8:30 am on SWR 2. For a recording of the show visit the SWR2 podcast.

Joachim Kurtz und Jörn Scharsack trugen zu einer Radiosendung über die Rolle von Parasiten als "global player" in Ökosystem names "Parasiten - Global Player der Ökosysteme" von Rainer B. Langen bei. Die Sendung wird am Mittwoch dem 10.01.2018 um 8:30 im SWR2 ausgestrahlt. Eine Aufnahme der Sendung wird es im SWR2 Podcast nach der Ausstrahlung geben.


2017

Interview with MGSE Speaker Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gadau

Alumni F _rderer Magazin _interview Gadau
© WWU

The „alumni | förderer“ magazine of the WWU (suppelment to the University newspaper "wissen | leben" no. 7 in 2017) reports in its new issue about how Prof. Dr. Jürgen Gadau turned from a guest researcher into a professor at the University of Münster. Prof. Gadau visited the MGSE in 2014 as a Fellow of the Evolution Think Tank. In November 2016, he was appointed a professorship for Molecular Evolutionary Biology at the Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity at the WWU. In January 2017, he was finally elected as Speaker of the MGSE, taking over from Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz. More about his career paths in the US, the reasons why he decided to move to Münster, and what he likes about the weather in Münster, can be found in the printed edition, the ePaper or the PDF of the magazine.

Task allocation and site fidelity jointly influence foraging regulation in honeybee colonies

30.08.2017
"Variation in behaviour among group members often impacts collective outcomes. Individuals may vary both in the task that they perform and in the persistence with which they perform each task. Although both the distribution of individuals among tasks and differences among individuals in behavioural persistence can each impact collective behaviour, we do not know if and how they jointly affect collective outcomes…..Our work provides new insights and generates new hypotheses into how variations in behaviour at both the individual and colony levels jointly impact the trade-off between exploring for new resources and exploiting familiar ones."

Mosqueiro, T., Cook, C., Huerta, R., Gadau, J., Smith, B., & Pinter-Wollman, N. (2017). Task allocation and site fidelity jointly influence foraging regulation in honeybee colonies. Royal Society Open Science, 4(8). DOI: 10.1098/rsos.170344




Enhancement of freshwater biodiversity following structural restoration?

August2017meyer
© Bever Project 2017

04.08.2017
Transversal dams prevent migration of aquatic organisms such as fish and macroinvertebrates. A current student project (Bsc. Biosciences, Msc. Water Sciences) supervised by the Limnology group of the IEB investigates the present ecological status of the structurally modified lowland river Bever near Ostbevern (North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany). Restoration measures starting in Autumn 2017 aim at achieving the „good ecological status“, as required by the European Water Framework Directive (WFD). To accomplish this goal the migration barriers (picture) will be removed and natural substrates such as wood will be placed to allow diverse morphodynamic development and free migration of the fauna. An accompanying monitoring will show whether a benthic community typical for sandy lowland streams will establish. Read more about the WFD...

"Biodiversität unter Wasser“ workshop in Münster

23.06.2017
Am 23.06.2017 fand zum zweiten Mal die Veranstaltung "Biodiversität unter Wasser“ in Kooperation mit dem Institut für Evolution und Biodiversität, Abteilung für Limnologie der Westfälischen Wilhelms- Universität Münster (WWU) und dem Landesfischereiverband Westfalen und Lippe e.V. (LFV) im Blauen Klassenzimmer in Münster statt. Prof. Dr. E. Meyer hielt im Rahmen der Veranstaltung einen Vortag mit dem Titel "Welche Tiere leben unter Wasser? Die heimische Gewässerfauna im Überblick".

Weitere Informationen finden Sie auf der Seite der Natur – und Umweltschutz-Akademie NRW.

On 23. June 2017 the second "Biodiversität unter Wasser" workshop was held an organized in cooperation with the Limnology Group of the Instutute for Evolution and Biodiversity and the Landesfischereiverband Westfalen und Lippe e.V. (LFV). Prof. Dr. E. Meyer gave a talk on the topic of biodiveryity under water titled "Welche Tiere leben unter Wasser? Die heimische Gewässerfauna im Überblick".

For more informations visit the page of the  Natur – und Umweltschutz-Akademie NRW.

Rensch-Lecture 2017

Diethard Tautz
© Pivate

13.06.2017
On June 13th, 2017 the annual Rensch Lecture was given by Prof. Diethard Tautz from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology in Plön in the Aula of the Schloss. Prof. Tautz talked about the controversial hot topic of, if and how it is possible that completely new genes, so called "de novo" genes, emerge from previously non-coding regions on the DNA instead from gene duplications, which was hitherto considered to be the only major source of novel genes. His lecture with the title "Gene aus dem Nichts - wie in Zufallssequenzen genetische Information entsteht" was well attended and spurred a lively discussion.

Projektmodul - Vorstellung der Arbeitsgruppen

08.02.2017 - 18 Uhr - Sozialraum des IEB

2016

Prof. Jürgen Gadau and the Molecular Evolution and Sociobiology Group join the IEB

GabdauLab Coat of Arms
© AG Gadau

DFG funds new Research Training Group

14.11.2016
Rtg Logo 4

Nachruf

  • 2015

    MSc-Arbeiten

    Molecular Evolution & Bioinformatics Group In Public Media

    Group 2015

    Talk of Prof. Joachim Kurtz at the "Kinder-Uni"

    Kinderuni Mg 5262 1 1
    © WWU - Judith Kraft

    Frei Plätze im FGM “Subalpine und alpine Vegetation temperater Hochgebirge am Beispiel der Zentralalpen mit Exkursion ins Ötztal“

    Bachelorarbeiten / Bachelor Theses 2015