The Heredity podcast with Mike Pointer features interviews with the people behind the journal, the science and a digest of breaking news.
30th August 2023
Grokking effective population size, with Robin Waples
What is effective population size (Ne), and why is it important? Robin Waples takes us back to the basics of this important evolutionary concept and discusses his new paper, using simulations to demonstrate that Bill Hill's 1972 equation for calculating Ne still works for populations with extreme reproductive patterns. This episode explores the recent Heredity paper: “Robustness of Hill’s overlapping-generation method for calculating Ne to extreme patterns of reproductive success”.
25th July 2023
Tracing the introduction of the common myna
Kamolphat Atsawawaranunt and Anna Santure discuss how they have used diverse samples of DNA to trace the introduction history of the common myna from its native range across its invasive distribution in the Pacific. This episode explores the recent Heredity paper: “Tracing the introduction of the invasive common myna using population genomics”.
28th June 2023
Genomic prediction in Honey Bees
In this episode, Richard Bernstein (Institute for Bee Research Hohen Neuendorf) discusses the development of the first genomic prediction model for honey bees. Genomic prediction is well established in the breeding of many commercial species, but wasn’t possible in honey bees until now. Richard fills us in on what genomic prediction actually is, why its useful and why prediction for bees is so tricky. This episode explores the recent Heredity paper: “First large-scale genomic prediction in the honey bee”
24th May 2023
Snakes, sex and conservation genetics
In this episode, Prof Thomas Madsen (Deakin University) discusses how a long-term study of an adder population has provided evidence that polyandry and non-random fertilisation can have positive effects on genetic diversity. Thomas argues that factoring in mating dynamics could help to improve conservation genetic analyses.
19th April 2023
Runs of homozygosity in Rum Red Deer
In this episode, Anna Hewett discusses how different factors have led to the patterns of homozygosity observed in a population of red deer living on the Scottish Isle of Rum.
22nd March 2023
Hello, hello and goodbye
After five years with the journal, James Burgon is leaving the Heredity Podcast. But fear not! Because the podcast is being left in a pair of safe and familiar hands. In this episode we meet our new host: Michael Pointer. Also joining the episode is new Editor-in-Chief Prof. Sara Goodacre.
22nd February 2023
Australasian snapper demographics
Tom Oosting discusses his research on the population demographics of the Australasian snapper, an economically important fish found in the waters around New Zealand. This study combines modern sampling with museum samples collected from pre-colonial Māori middens.
This episode explores the recent Heredity paper: “Mitochondrial genomes reveal mid-Pleistocene population divergence, and post-glacial expansion, in Australasian snapper (Chrysophrys auratus)”
25th January 2023
The best student-led papers in Heredity, Vol. 3
Every year, Heredity publishes some outstanding student-led papers, and to recognise the quality of this work the journal runs a student paper prize. So, what makes a paper stand out? Find out, as Co-Editor-in-Chief Aurora Ruiz-Herrera joins the podcast to explore the three best student-led papers of 2022.
Find the full Student Prize Longlist Collection here: https://www.nature.com/collections/bvttbjrkyx
21st December 2022
Life in the cold
Dr Emiliano Trucchi (Marche Polytechnic University) and Dr Céline Le Bohec (University of Strasbourg; Monaco Scientific Center) discuss the genetic basis of cold adaptation in the emperor penguin. Céline also shares her experience of visiting Antarctica.
This episode explores the recent Heredity paper: “Selection-driven adaptation to the extreme Antarctic environment in the Emperor penguin”
24th November 2022
The cradle of cat domestication
In this episode, Dr Sara Nilson (University of Nebraska–Lincoln), Dr Jared Decker (University of Missouri) and Prof. Leslie Lyons (University of Missouri) discuss their quest to find the geographical origins of cat domestication.
This episode explores the recent Heredity paper: “Genetics of randomly bred cats support the cradle of cat domestication being in the Near East”
26th October 2022
Connecting the toads
In this episode, Dr Paul Maier tells us about his research on the landscape genetics of the Yosemite toad, which only inhabits high-altitude meadows in California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains.
This episode explores the recent Heredity paper: “Landscape genetics of a sub-alpine toad: climate change predicted to induce upward range shifts via asymmetrical migration corridors”
5th October 2022
Sociality in mammals
Social interactions play an essential role in the lives of many animals. But how do we disentangle the genetic and non-genetic factors influencing sociality? In this episode, Dr Irene Godoy (Bielefeld University) tells us about her research on sociality in capuchin monkeys.
This episode explores the recent Heredity paper: “Genetic, maternal, and environmental influences on sociality in a pedigreed primate population”
24th August 2022
Activity, sleep, and mitochondrial variation
Can the sleep and activity patterns of fruit flies help us better understand human metabolic disorders? It’s a big question, and one that we are going to touch upon today, as we hear from Dr Pedro Vale, Katy Monteith (University of Edinburgh), and Lucy Anderson. This episode also touches upon the undergraduate research experience, first publications, and the benefits of peer-review.
This episode explores the recent Heredity paper: “Variation in mitochondrial DNA affects locomotor activity and sleep in Drosophila melanogaster”
27th July 2022
Mendel to Modern Genetics
On the 20th July, The Genetics Society held a fantastic Garden Party to celebrate the 200th birthday of Gregor Mendel: a man regarded by many as the "father of modern genetics". In this episode we showcase a talk given on the day by Prof. Alison Woollard (University of Oxford) titled: ‘Mendel to Modern Genetics’.
You can find a recording of the full event on the Genetics Society’s YouTube Channel.
You can also find the Heredity Special Issue - Mendel 200th birthday, here.
22nd June 2022
Meiosis and the evolution of sex chromosomes
The XY sex-determination system of therian mammals has persisted for over 160 million years: but why? In this episode Aurora Ruiz-Herrera (Autonomous University of Barcelona) and Paul Waters (University of New South Wales) discuss the evolution of sex chromosomes and role of meiosis.
This episode explores the recent Heredity paper: “Fragile, unfaithful and persistent Ys—on how meiosis can shape sex chromosome evolution”
25th May 2022
Asian oriole museomics
The genetic material locked within museum collections could help us better understand and conserve the world around us. In this episode PhD student Mario Ernst (Natural History Museum, Berlin) and Dr Knud Jønsson (Natural History Museum of Denmark) explain how, as they tell us about their work on a charismatic group of birds: the Asian orioles.
This episode explores the recent Heredity paper: “Utilizing museomics to trace the complex history and species boundaries in an avian-study system of conservation concern”
13th April 2022
Grey reef shark demographics
Hidden within shark genomes are clues to the evolution of marine biodiversity hotspots. In this episode, Dr Paolo Momigliano (University of Vigo), tells us about his work on the grey reef shark: from fishing in the tropical waters of the Coral Triangle to detailed demographic modelling.
To find out about the Genetics Society’s art competition for UK primary and secondary schools, visit: https://genetics.org.uk/hap-pea-birthday-mendel/
30th March 2022
Recast: Getting to know Heredity
In this episode we revisit an inspiring episode that answers the question: why should you publish in Heredity?
16th March 2022
The giant tortoises of the Galápagos archipelago form one of the most iconic evolutionary systems in the world. But is all as it appears? Join Dr Evelyn Jensen (Newcastle University) and discover how museum specimens are reshaping our understanding of this famous radiation.
Associated article: A new lineage of Galapagos giant tortoises identified from museum samples
23rd February 2022
Wild barley relatives
Barley is one of the world’s oldest and most important cultivated cereal grains. But it’s long history of domestication has resulted in greatly reduced genetic diversity, which isn’t ideal for plant breeding efforts. So, in this episode, Che-Wei Chang and Prof. Karl Schmid (University of Hohenheim) discuss their quest to find useful genetic variation in wild barley relatives.
9th February 2022
The best student-led papers in Heredity, Vol. 2
Every year Heredity publishes some outstanding student-led papers, and to recognise the quality of this work the journal runs a student paper prize. So, what makes a paper stand out? Find out, as we hear from overall winner Dr Allie Graham and 2nd runner-up Johanna Denkena.
Explore the full Student Prize Longlist Collection here.
26th January 2022
PopGroup 55 Special
In this episode we explore the 55th Population Genetics Group Meeting. Tune in to get a taste of what this conference has to offer as we hear from organisers, plenary speakers, and student prize winners.
This episode was made in collaboration with Mike Pointer, host of the Abstract Bioscience podcast.
12th January 2022
Inbreeding depression is often considered to be a bad thing, especially in conservation programmes. However, that may not always be the case. In this episode Dr Eugenio López-Cortegano (University of Edinburgh), Dr Eulalia Moreno (Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas) and Prof. Aurora García-Dorado (Universidad Complutense de Madrid) discuss a surprising benefit of inbreeding in small, endangered populations.
22nd December 2021
The Best of 2021
Join host James Burgon as he shares his highlights from the past year of the Heredity Podcast.
8th December 2021
Surprising little lemurs
Join Prof. Anne Yoder (Duke University), Dr Mario dos Reis (Queen Mary University of London) and Dr George Tiley (Duke University) as they discuss their recent work looking at mutation rates in the gray mouse lemur. It’s a story that takes us from a house party to the bleeding edge of genetics research, with a detour through the scandalous sex lives of mouse lemurs.
24th November 2021
The Population Genetics Group Meeting comes to Norwich this January (05th – 07th). In fact, it's coming to a lot of places. Tune in to find out how this beloved genetics conference is adapting to the COVID era with online talks, local meetups and “Twitter posters”.
This episode features friend of the podcast Mike Pointer, one of this year’s PopGroup organisers and host of the Abstract Bioscience podcast. PopGroup registration closes on 12th December.
3rd November 2021
A genomic approach to oceanography
Can we really understand ancient shifts in oceanic currents by looking at the population genetics of migratory species? Find out in this episode, as Dr Jurjan van der Zee (University of Groningen) discusses his search for a warm-water corridor between the Atlantic and Indian oceans in the genomes of green turtles.
Associated article: The population genomic structure of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) suggests a warm-water corridor for tropical marine fauna between the Atlantic and Indian oceans during the last interglacial
6th October 2021
Resisting the Tilapia Lake Virus
Nile tilapia are the third most important farmed fish worldwide, but the emergence of the Tilapia Lake Virus (TiLV) threatens its sustainable production. In this episode, Dr Agustin Barría (The Roslin Institute) discusses his recent collaboration, where they used a natural outbreak of TiLV to investigate the genetic architecture of disease resistance.
11th August 2021
Why's that fish transparent?
Red sea bream are an important fish in Japan, for both culinary and cultural reasons. But there’s a problem: transparent fish are appearing in fish farms! Join Dr Eitaro Sawayama (Nihon University) and find out how he uncovered the causative gene for this deformity, and what his work means for red sea bream aquaculture.
14th July 2021
The return of wolves
After more than 150 years, wolves once again roam the Germany countryside! Of course, a lot has changed in that time. Join Anne Jarausch (Senckenberg Research Institute and Natural History Museum Frankfurt) as she discusses her recent work looking at the genetics of this ongoing, rapid and natural wolf recolonisation.
23rd June 2021
New editor on the board: an interview with Prof. Sam Banks
Join us as we talk to the newest member of the Heredity editorial board: Prof. Sam Banks (Charles Darwin University). Discover his eclectic research tastes, hear about his recent Heredity paper on Australia’s threatened brush-tailed rabbit-rat, and be inspired by his passion for population genetics and ecology.
Associated article: Population genomics and conservation management of a declining tropical rodent
26th May 2021
A pest with potential
A scourge to many in agriculture, flour beetles in the genus Tribolium may be the best model system you’re not using. Join PhD student Michael Pointer, Prof. Matthew Gage and Dr Lewis Spurgin (University of East Anglia) as they discuss the importance of Tribolium beetles across a remarkable range of research fields… and their great untapped potential as a model system in evolution and ecology.
Associated article: Tribolium beetles as a model system in evolution and ecology
12th May 2021
Tales from the field
From Antarctic voyages to tropical cloud rainforests, join us as we revisit some of the best fieldwork experiences shared on the Heredity Podcast.
28th April 2021
Join Dr Milan Vrtílek (Czech Academy of Sciences) and Dr Pierre Chuard (Bishop's University) as they venture into the world of maternal effects – a form of inheritance that goes beyond genes. We also discuss the importance of preregistering studies for robust, reproducible science and explore the often-overlooked value in finding negative results.
14th April 2021
Delve into the complex processes behind biological sex determination with Duminda Dissanayake and Clare Holleley (University of Canberra/CSIRO), and discover what happens when a developing lizard embryo receives conflicting signals.
24th March 2021
When less is more: adaptive loss of function
There are many ways to break a gene, and that’s not always a bad thing. In this episode Grey Monroe and Pádraic Flood discuss their recent paper on the population genomics of adaptive loss of function, and recount the unexpected origins of their collaboration.
Associated article: The population genomics of adaptive loss of function
9th March 2021
Recast: Good dog, bad dog – is it all in the genes?
In this episode we revisit the nature vs. nurture debate in one of humanity's closest companions – Dogs! Why do they do the things they do? Are their behaviours hardwired into their DNA? Tune in and listen to Dr Juliane Friedrich, Dr Pamela Wiener and Dr Marie Haskell as they discuss complex genetic behaviour traits in German shepherd dogs and how their research has shaped the way they view their own pets behaviour.
Associated article: Genetic dissection of complex behaviour traits in German Shepherd dogs
24th February 2021
History according to mice
Etched into the genomes of the humble house mouse are clues to some of the most important migrations in human history. Join Prof. Hitoshi Suzuki and Dr Naoki Osada (Hokkaido University) as they explain how they used the Eurasian house mouse, Mus musculus, to trace the prehistorical movement of ancient human populations.
10th February 2021
PopGroup 54 Special
In this episode we explore the 54th Population Genetics Group Meeting with two of its organisers: Prof. Andrea Betancourt and Eve Taylor-Cox (University of Liverpool). We also hear from the winner of the best student talk: Gabriela Montejo-Kovacevic (University of Cambridge). Listen now to hear about great new research and the trials of hosting an online conference.
27th January 2021
The evolution of the sexes
Why did different sexes evolve? It’s a question as old as biology, but Prof. Dr Elvira Hörandl (University of Göttingen), with the help of biochemist Dr Franz Hadacek, may have discovered an important piece of the answer.
Associated article: Oxygen, life forms, and the evolution of sexes in multicellular eukaryotes
13th January 2021
Getting to know Heredity
In a bumper episode, filled with editorial expertise and top writing tips, discover why you should publish in Heredity in 2021!
23rd December 2020
The Best of 2020
Join host James Burgon as he shares his highlights from the past year of the Heredity Podcast.
9th December 2020
Inspiring the Next Gen
When Jon Hale, a teacher at Beaulieu Convent School in Jersey, asked himself “how do we inspire the next generation of scientists?”, he came up with an incredibly ambitious plan. It involved a Royal Society Partnership Grant, daffodils, and some of the most cutting-edge genome sequencing technology available. In this episode Jon tells us about his transformative school-based initiative, and two of his students, Daisy (17) and Caitlin (17), explain how they took ownership over their first real research project.
25th November 2020
Plant Quantitative Genetics: from Theory into Practice
In this episode we discuss the new Heredity Special Issue, Plant Quantitative Genetics: from Theory into Practice, with guest editors Dr Alison Bentley (CIMMYT) and Dr Lindsey Compton (University of Birmingham). Join us as we delve into the reviews, perspectives and research papers that explore the opportunities and applications of quantitative genetics in a range of plant species, and one paper that asks the question: how can we inspire the next generation of plant scientists?
Associated special issue: Plant Quantitative Genetics: from Theory into Practice
11th November 2020
Are all lab mice the same?
For over a century, inbred mice have been at the heart of genetics research. They are undoubtedly one of the most important models in all of biology. But are the mice from inbred lines really as genetically identical as often assumed? Find out in this episode as we hear from Dr Jobran Chebib and Prof. Peter Keightley (University of Edinburgh).
28th October 2020
The best student-led papers in Heredity
In September Heredity unveiled the winners of its first ever prize for best student-led paper. In this episode we explore this collection of outstanding research with the help of Emily Baker, The Genetics Society’s postgraduate representative, the overall winner, Donald McKnight, and the Editor-in-Chief of Heredity Prof. Barbara Mable. Tune in to hear some fascinating science and learn some top-tips for writing a prize-winning manuscript.
Associated collection: First annual Heredity prize for the Best Student Paper
14th October 2020
More than meets the eye
Within the Brazilian mangroves resides some of the most unique organisms on Earth: killifish. Specifically, two species within the genus Kryptolebias, which are the only known vertebrates to reproduce through self-fertilisation. What impact does this unusual mating system have on their population genetic structure? Dr Waldir Berbel-Filho ventured into the inhospitable mangroves to discover the answer.
22nd September 2020
The Nature of fear with Prof. Dan Blumstein
Join Prof. Daniel Blumstein (UCLA) as he discusses his new popular science book The Nature of Fear: Survival Lessons from the Wild. Prof. Blumstein has scoured the animal kingdom in search of better ways for us to live wisely with this primordial emotion and cope with risk. It’s a journey that’s involved diving with giant clams, biking through tiger country, and developing an inordinate fondness for marmots.
9th September 2020
Meet the monkey flower: an emerging model
The genetic structure of a population can shape an organism’s ecology and evolution. However, that structure often changes depending on the geographic scale you’re looking at. In this episode Dr Alex Twyford (University of Edinburgh) discusses the complicated genetic structures displayed by an emerging model – the yellow monkey flower, Mimulus guttatus. A proud botanist, Dr Twyford also explores the issue of ‘plant blindness’: the unfortunate tendency of biologists to overlook the research value, and potential, of plant systems.
26th August 2020
Hidden in plain sight
Museum collections play a vital role in active research and conservation programmes, and in this episode we’re going to explore a prime example of just how valuable they can be. Join Kyle Ewart (University of Sydney; Australian Museum Research Institute) and Leo Joseph (Australian National Wildlife Collection, CSIRO) as they discuss their recent research on the iconic red-tailed black-cockatoo, and their discovery of a new subspecies that was hidden in plain sight.
17th August 2020
In search of sponges
Motivated by a series of mass mortalities, a team of marine biologists voyaged across the Caribbean in search of a poorly understood organism – the vase sponge. Join Dr Sarah Griffiths (Manchester Metropolitan University) and Prof. Donald Behringer (University of Florida) as they discuss the complex population genetic structures they uncovered, and the potential impact of their spongy discoveries on marine conservation and restoration efforts.
22nd July 2020
Speciation is often considered unidirectional: a continual process of divergence interrupted only by extinction events. However, this isn’t entirely true. In this episode Dr Jente Ottenburghs (Wageningen University) discusses the curious case of the bean geese: where speciation appears to have stopped and, perhaps, begun to reverse.
8th July 2020
Alternative Entry Points
The antagonistic co-evolution that characterises host-parasite relationships is one of the most fascinating interactions in genetics. In this episode, Dr Gilberto Bento discusses one such interaction, the Daphnia–Pasteuria host–parasite system, and the discovery of an alternative route of bacterial infection associated with a novel resistance locus. Dr Bento also talks about his experience of leaving academia to find an alternative career in science.
24th June 2020
Inversions: an interview with Dr Rui Faria
In episode five of our editorial series we meet Dr Rui Faria from the Research Center in Biodiversity and Genetic Resources at the University of Porto (Portugal). Dr Faria’s research looks at the role of chromosomal inversions in the generation of biological diversity, focusing on Littorina snails as a model. And, in a more personal inversion, Dr Faria took his first steps behind a scientific journal when he joined the Heredity Editorial team in May 2019: tune in to discover how he made the leap and what he thinks makes a great paper submission.
10th June 2020
Resistance is female
The arms race between the highly toxic rough-skinned newts of North America and the garter snakes that prey upon them is a literal textbook example of evolution in action. However, it appears that a piece of the genetic puzzle underpinning this interaction has been overlooked, until now. In this episode, PhD candidate Kerry Gendreau (Virginia Tech) and Dr Michael Hague (University of Montana) discuss their recent work showing that toxin resistance in garter snakes is sex-linked, and the implications this has for a system that is taught to almost every biology student.
Associated article: Sex linkage of the skeletal muscle sodium channel gene (SCN4A) explains apparent deviations from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium of tetrodotoxin-resistance alleles in garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis)
27th May 2020
Targeted conservation of endangered chimps
Chimpanzees are humanities closest cousins, and they’re close to disappearing. In this episode we hear from Peter Frandsen (Copenhagen Zoo, University of Copenhagen) and Claudia Fontsere (Barcelona Biomedical Research Park), who are developing new genetic tools to aid in the conservation of this iconic species.
Associated article: Targeted conservation genetics of the endangered chimpanzee
13th May 2020
Size matters for specialisation
What impact does the initial size of a population have on an organism’s ability to adapt to its environment? In this episode we investigate this question with Dr Yashraj Chavhan and Prof. Sutirth Dey from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in Pune, India. Their results hold important insights for many aspects of population genetics.
22nd April 2020
Can mutational meltdown help us defeat COVID-19?
The world is currently gripped by COVID-19, but could an often overlooked population genetic theory hold one of the keys to defeating it? In this episode we speak to Prof. Michael Lynch (Arizona State University) about a recent Comment he penned with Prof. Jeffrey Jensen, where they consider mutational meltdown as a potential SARS-CoV-2 treatment strategy.
Associated article: Considering mutational meltdown as a potential SARS-CoV-2 treatment strategy
8th April 2020
Drift and selection in paradise
French Polynesia is a South Pacific paradise, and thanks to an eccentric aviculturist it is also host to an interesting evolutionary experiment. In 1937, Eastham Guild released silvereye birds on Tahiti, from where they dispersed to other islands. Now they form the perfect system for testing the roles of drift and selection in rapid morphological divergence. Join Ashley Sendell-Price (University of Oxford) as he discusses his resent research on silvereyes, and stick around for some views on LGBTQ+ communities in STEM at the end.
A Genetics Society Heredity Fieldwork Grant supported Ash’s research, find out more about the scheme here: https://genetics.org.uk/grants/heredity-fieldwork-grant/
Associated article: Rapid morphological divergence following a human-mediated introduction: the role of drift and directional selection
25th March 2020
Human impacts: an interview with Dr Giorgio Bertorelle
In episode four of our editorial series we meet Dr Giorgio Bertorelle from the University of Ferrara, Italy. An animal population and conservation geneticist, Giorgio is fascinated by the impact human activities have on the evolution of animal genomes.
13th March 2020
Fantastic frogs and where to find them
Poison dart frogs are an iconic group of tropical animals. But how and when did their spectacular warning colourations evolve? And are they really a signal to predators? In this episode we explore these questions with Diana Rojas and Adam Stow, as they discuss their recent forays into the depths of both Amazonia and modern molecular methods to unravel the evolutionary history of colour diversification in the splash-backed poison frog, Adelphobates galactonotus.
Associated article: The evolution of polymorphism in the warning coloration of the Amazonian poison frog Adelphobates galactonotus
26th February 2020
An engineer’s eye: an interview with Prof. Dario Grattapaglia
In episode three of our editorial series we meet forest engineer turned plant geneticist Prof. Dario Grattapaglia. A highly experienced researcher and editor, Dario brings a unique and heavily applied focus to his work. His story and views on publishing are sure to inspire many!
12th February 2020
PopGroup 53 special!
Every winter population geneticists gather for the Population Genetics Group Meeting. This year, the 53rd meeting took place at the University of Leicester, and with the help of Michael Pointer, a PhD student at the University of East Anglia, we are going to bring you the highlights! From world-renowned researchers to rising stars, settle in and listen to the best of PopGroup 53!
22nd January 2020
Multiple perspectives: an interview with Dr Marc Stift
In episode two of our editorial series, we meet Dr Marc Stift (University of Konstanz). A plant evolutionary geneticist with three years under his belt at Heredity, Marc has also authored five papers in the journal (so far). This gives him valuable perspectives from both sides of the process. What has he learnt? What tips can he give for writing a successful manuscript? And what makes him scientifically tick? Tune in to find out.
Associated articles: Sibling competition does not magnify inbreeding depression in North American Arabidopsis lyrata
STRUCTURE is more robust than other clustering methods in simulated mixed-ploidy populations
8th January 2020
Tristyly: A most complex marriage arrangement
Charles Darwin described it as the most complex mating system in the natural world. Famed statistician Ronald Fisher was fascinated by it. And this episode’s interviewees braved 40 °C heat and caimans to unravel some of its mysteries. What is it? Tristyly — a rare and mysterious plant mating system. Tune in to hear what Dr Nicolay Cunha and Prof. Spencer Barrett learnt about this system from the pickerel weeds of Brazil’s Pantanal.
Associated article: Architectural constraints, male fertility variation and biased floral morph ratios in tristylous populations
11th December 2019
The crop specialist: an interview with Dr Alison Bentley
Behind the pages of Heredity there lies a group of incredibly dedicated, brilliant scientists—our editors! Who are they? What do they actually do? What kinds of research are they passionate about? What are they looking for in a good manuscript? These are the kinds of questions we are going to explore in a new series of episodes dedicated to these unsung heroes of scientific publishing. First up, we have Dr Alison Bentley, a crop specialist who leads a +40 group of researchers as Head of Genetics and Breeding at NIAB (National Institute of Agricultural Botany).
27th November 2019
Good dog, bad dog – is it all in the genes?
In this episode we explore the nature vs. nurture debate in one of humanities closest companions – Dogs! Why do they do the things they do? Are their behaviours hardwired into their DNA? Tune in and listen to Dr Juliane Friedrich, Dr Pamela Wiener and Dr Marie Haskell as they discuss complex genetic behaviour traits in German shepherd dogs, collaborating with the Swedish Armed Forces, and how their research has shaped the way they view their own pets behaviour.
Associated Article: Genetic dissection of complex behaviour traits in German Shepherd dogs
13th November 2019
PopGroup Conference Special
The annual Population Genetics Group Forum is an important, and much beloved, conference in the fields of genetics and evolution. As registration opens for the 53 meeting of PopGroup (to be held at the University of Leicester, 5th – 8th January 2020), we hear what’s in-store from three of the people organising it: Dr Rob Hammond, Dr Richard Badge and PhD student Max John.
We then delve into the history of this wonderfully unique conference with three of its longest serving delegates: Prof. John Turner, Prof. Laurence Cook and Prof. John Brookfield.
9th October 2019
Unravelling disease survival in farmed carp
Fish farming, or aquaculture, is an important source of animal protein, particularly in developing nations. Unfortunately, aquaculture is highly susceptible to outbreaks of infections disease. In this episode, Lior David and Roni Tadmor-Levi (The Hebrew University of Jerusalem) discuss their work trying to identify the genetic basis of disease survival in the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) when challenged with the koi herpes virus (Cyprinid herpesvirus 3).
Associated article: Multiple interacting QTLs affect disease challenge survival in common carp (Cyprinus carpio)
25th September 2019
The hybrid origins of asexual species
An essential aspect of life is reproduction, and an essential aspect of reproduction is sex… except when it isn’t. While common in invertebrates, asexual reproduction is only seen in around 90 vertebrate species. And in this episode, Dr Susana Freitas (University of Lausanne, Switzerland) explains her work looking at the hybrid origin of parthenogenesis in what may be the best-studied asexual vertebrate—Darevskia lizards.
Associated article: The role of hybridisation in the origin and evolutionary persistence of vertebrate parthenogens: a case study of Darevskia lizards
11th September 2019
When species hybridise
Species are often thought of as discreet and separate from one another. However, hybrid zones often form between closely related species, providing the opportunity to test many evolutionary hypotheses. In this episode, we talk to Dr Henrique Batalha-Filho (Universidade Federal da Bahia, Brazil) and Dr Marcos Maldonado-Coelho (Lund University, Sweden) about their work characterising a hybrid zone between two spinetail bird species in the Atlantic rainforests of Brazil... we also hear from the birds themselves.
Associated article: The role of hybridisation in the origin and evolutionary persistence of vertebrate parthenogens: a case study of Darevskia lizards
14th August 2019
How rats invaded the Faroes (3 times)
The Faroe Islands are a North Atlantic archipelago, famed for being a Viking stronghold. However, for the past few centuries the islands have themselves been besieged by one of the world’s greatest invaders: the brown rat. In this episode, Dr Emily Puckett (University of Memphis) and Dr Eyðfinn Magnussen (University of the Faroe Islands) discuss their recent paper looking at the current and historical population genetics of the brown rat. It’s a story that takes us from 18th century shipwrecks right into the modern genomic era.
Associated article: Genomic analyses reveal three independent introductions of the invasive brown rat (Rattus norvegicus) to the Faroe Islands
28th August 2019
How to breed a climate resilient cow
How do you breed a high-production cow fit for a changing world? It’s rare that we discuss the impact of climate change on cattle agriculture, yet it’s important to consider how rising temperatures will impact this important part of the global food chain. In today’s episode, Prof. Ismo Strandén, Prof. Juha Kantanen and Prof. Michael Bruford discuss a simulation-based approach for identifying optimal breeding strategies. It’s an approach that may help produce a productive yet temperature resilient dairy cow by identifying the best way to mix the desirable genomic traits of both commercial and rare breed stocks.
Associated article: Genomic selection strategies for breeding adaptation and production in dairy cattle under climate change
24th July 2019
Tips on collaborations and range expansions
Collaboration is an essential aspect of modern science, and the authors featured in today’s episode epitomise this relationship. In our most ambitions interview to date, all four first authors of a recent Heredity paper come together to discuss their work looking at range expansions in the blacktip reef shark (Carcharhinus melanopterus). Their results provide a cautionary tale for researchers interpreting population genetic data, especially when dealing with potential meta-populations.
Associated article: Demographic inferences after a range expansion can be biased: the test case of the blacktip reef shark
10th July 2019
Hot and cold hardiness across complex life cycles
Some like it hot. Some like it cold. But whatever an organism’s preference, our changing climate is likely going to force them to adapt to new temperature regimes. This raises a particularly interesting question for those species with complex life-cycles: do different life stages respond to thermal pressures in a similar way? Or do they display distinct evolutionary trends? In this episode we speak to Dr Philip Freda and Zainab Ali about their work looking at stage-specific genotype-by-environment interactions for cold and heat hardiness in Drosophila melanogaster. And beyond the science, Zainab tells us what it feels like to have an undergraduate research experience lead to your first scientific publication.
Associated article: Stage-specific genotype-by-environment interactions for cold and heat hardiness in Drosophila melanogaster
19th June 2019
Scientific storytelling: an interview with Prof. Enrico Coen
Storytelling facilitated both the emergence of the scientific discipline and the evolution of human intelligence. At least, that’s what Prof. Enrico Coen argues. A former President of the genetics society, Prof. Coen, from the John Innes Centre, has two articles in the recent Heredity Special issue commemorating 100 years of The Genetics Society. In the first, he creatively recounts the rise of Homo geneticus, and in the second he delves into the history and importance of human storytelling. Tune in to hear a grand tale of genetics and discover how your research could benefit from a little more storytelling.
The storytelling arms race: origin of human intelligence and the scientific mind
12th June 2019
Genetics and evolution, a century of bias: an interview with Laurence Hurst
We tend to think of science as objective, but as with any human endeavour it is fraught with biases: cognitive, technical, personal and cultural. Interestingly, it turns out that inheritance can also be biased, with the transmission of genes often displaying anything but ‘fair’ segregation. As the Genetics Society celebrates its centenary, join president Prof. Laurence Hurst as he discusses 100 years of bias in genetics and evolution, how he fell in love with the field (despite poor first impressions), his thoughts on science education, and his hopes for a playful future in the study of genetics and evolution.
Associated article: A century of bias in genetics and evolution
22nd May 2019
Is evolution faster in the tropics?
Why do the tropics contain such a diversity of life? In this episode, we explore this question with Matt Orton and Prof. Sarah Adamowicz from the University of Guelph. Listen to them discuss their recent research paper – Is molecular evolution faster in the tropics? – and hear about the challenge it poses to the long standing Evolutionary Speed Hypothesis.
Associated article: Is molecular evolution faster in the tropics?
8th May 2019
Orchids in the cloud
In this episode we explore the genetic structuring of orchids in the cloud rainforests of Ecuador. While we mainly think of orchids as ornamental houseplants, many wild species are vulnerable to poaching or deforestation. In a recent Heredity paper, Professor José Iriondo (King Juan Carlos University, Madrid) and colleagues investigated the fine-scale genetic structure of an unassuming orchid in a regenerating patch of Ecuadorian rainforest—working in a landscape unlike any other, they have discovered a mysterious population dynamic that so far eludes explanation, but does highlight vital conservation considerations for this iconic family of flowering plants.
Associated article: Complex fine-scale spatial genetic structure in Epidendrum rhopalostele: an epiphytic orchid
10th April 2019
Snails, supergenes and a question of colour (Special Episode)
From the days of Darwin and Mendel, studies on colouration have played a vital role in deciphering the mechanisms of natural selection and genetic heredity. While this work has encompassed many species from all branches of the tree of life, a particularly noteworthy one is the incredibly colour diverse grove snail, Cepaea nemoralis. In this special double-whammy episode, we discuss two recent Heredity papers on this unassuming, yet beautiful, little mollusc by Dr Angus Davison (University of Nottingham) and colleagues. The first takes a quantitative approach to determining the colour phenotypes of over 1000 grove snails, while the second investigates the underlying genetics of this colour polymorphism. The insights gleaned from these studies have important implications for how we conduct studies on animal colouration, and also challenge long held assumptions about the evolution and role of supergenes.
Discrete or indiscrete? Redefining the colour polymorphism of the land snail Cepaea nemoralis
Recombination within the Cepaea nemoralis supergene is confounded by incomplete penetrance and epistasis