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Lab ImageWillian Silva

Uppsala University
Evolutionary Biology Center, Department of Ecology and Genetics
Norbyvägen 18D 1
Uppsala, Uppsala lan 752 36


Taxa Studied: Vertebrate Animals
Techniques Employed: Quantitative PCR (qPCR), Bioinformatics/Sequence Analysis, In Situ Hybridization, Antibody Staining, Sectioning for Histology, Confocal Microscopy, Other, Transcriptomics, Morphological Analysis, Geometric Morphometrics, Computational Models, No
Research Description: Two types of epigenetics can be distinguished (the terms "type I" and "type II" are used here for better communication). Type I epigenetics refers to the non-DNA-based mechanisms of inheritance, triggered by the physical and chemical conditions which cells are subject to, e.g. physical pressures acting upon and within cells, chemical concentration gradient due to differential diffusion, and differential mechanical properties of cells, intra- and extracellular cell products, and tissues. Type II epigenetics refers to changes in gene regulation due to non-sequence modifications of the genetic material or functional structures of cells, that is, modifications of gene activity that are not based on alterations of DNA sequence and that are passed on to the next generation. Type II epigenetic mechanisms include DNA methylation (DNA level), post-transcription modification (RNA level), chromatin remodeling (protein level), and structural inheritance. Types I and II of epigenetic mechanisms play different roles in development, generating different developmental patterns. With an experimental-theoretical approach, I am using the zebrafish as my model species to understand how environmental factors (e.g. intra-sexual competition) affect developmental patterns (in particular, morphological patterns) through type II epigenetic changes and how these changes affect the evolution of phenotypic traits. We aim to answer three main questions: 1. Which traits are affected by epigenetic inheritance? 2. What are the effects of epigenetics on developmental patterns? 3. How do these epigenetic effects affect the evolution of phenotypic traits? The study of epigenetics is essential to understand the developmental mechanisms and processes responsible for morphological variation and the role of development in morphological evolution.
Lab Web Page: http://williansilva.evobiolab.com/
Willing to Host Undergraduates: NO
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: NO
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