11 June 2014, 12pm-1pm, GLT3, Warwick Medical School Building, University of Warwick
Title: 'Epigenetic transmission of environmental signals across a generation'
Dr Andre Pires da Silva, Associate Professor, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick
Recent research indicates that human populations that experienced famine events may result in descendants with a higher propensity to cardiovascular diseases. Although the conclusions of this research are still controversial in humans because of confounding factors, there are several animals that can regulate their development according to changes in the environment. In some cases the response to a cue is more advantageous at a later point in life or in the following generation, rather than immediately. However, it is unclear how cues that do not directly interact with the germline can influence phenotypic plasticity across generations. We have been studying a species of nematode in which chemical cues experienced by the mother result in the production of progeny with adaptive phenotypes. This nematode is being used as a model to understand how environmental signals are processed by the animal to epigenetically modify the germline and generate offspring with an alternative phenotype.