The Heredity podcast with James Burgon features interviews with the people behind the journal, the science and a digest of breaking news.

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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?

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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

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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.
Associatied articles:
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

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