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Ecological Epigenetics

Epigenetics means different things to different people, but we could think of it as the study of how cells, tissues, and individuals acquire particular phenotypes. Differentiation typically means genes are expressed depending on context. Laboratory studies have revealed a lot of interesting things about how early life experiences translate into more or less persistent phenotypes. A famous example is the long-term consequences of prenatal malnutrition, for example regulation of metabolism, which have been linked to changes in DNA methylation of particular genes. Long-term effects of conditions early in life are found in the wild as well, but here we are naturally lagging behind with documentation of molecular mechanisms. Our first step is to describe patterns of variation in DNA methylation and attempt to link this to genetic variation and environmental exposures in wild birds. In the lab we can conduct experiments to provide better mechanistic detail. Ultimately, the hope is to say something useful about how epigenetic mechanisms contribute to plasticity, heredity, and evolution.

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Contact information

Tobias Uller
Wallenberg Academy Fellow
Evolutionary ecology

Telephone: 046-222 30 94
E-mail: tobias [dot] uller [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

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