|Funding for:||UK Students, EU Students, International Students|
|Funding amount:||This PhD studentship is funded for 4 years by The Leverhulme Trust. Funding is available to UK applicants only. Funding comprises home tuition fees and an annual stipend of £17,668 (for a maximum of 48 months)|
|Placed On:||21st March 2023|
|Closes:||18th May 2023|
Applications are invited from UK applicants only for fully funded 4-year PhD studentship in the Ageing and Life-History Evolution Lab at UEA.
Parental environment can affect the performance of distant descendants over many generations. This can shape the lifestyle, health and longevity of offspring, grand-offspring, and grand-grand-offspring, but to what end? Despite the surge of interest in this type of transgenerational non-genetic inheritance, it is unclear whether such effects are adaptive or maladaptive – hence does this actually affect the overall direction and pace of evolutionary change? This project aims to provide the answer to the question of whether adaptive transgenerational effects exist by using C. elegans, the model organism that was key to the main discoveries in this rapidly advancing field.
Recent studies suggest that organisms may transfer environmentally induced phenotypic changes to their descendants non-genetically across many generations. This mode of information transfer, referred to as transgenerational epigenetic inheritance, is neither predicted nor included in standard evolutionary models. Therefore, it promises to change the way we think about evolutionary processes, as well as the effect of the environment on human health.
Furthermore, recent work in our laboratory showed that temporary shortage of food in C. elegans indeed results in strong and robust transgenerational effects, but the effects can be beneficial or detrimental for the descendants depending on the environment. Thus, the emerging picture is that different parental experiences induce very different transgenerational effects on progeny, and it is unclear whether these effects are adaptive or not. In this project you will use a combination of evolutionary ecology and molecular biology approaches to advance our understanding of how parental lifestyle affects offspring fitness and ageing across generations.
PRIMARY SUPERVISOR: Prof Alexei Maklakov
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