Monthly Archives: May 2012

Mol Ecol Group Meeting – MON 13:00 Common Room

We have a meeting at coming Monday – 21st of May at 13:00h in the Common Room.

The speakers are

Cheryl Mills: Population genetics of the hazel dormouse


Echo Yu-Hsun Hsu: Effects of extra-pair copulation on offspring fitness varied through different life-history stages

There will be cake!

Chad needs a house/dog sitter!

House/dog sitter required June8th – June 14th

I am looking for someone interested in housesitting and/or dogsitting Fri June 8th -Thurs June 14th. The dog is an adorable, well-behaved yellow Labrador named Brophy who likes to chase tennis balls and lay around the house. If you also want to stay at my place you would have a 3bd/1ba terraced house with a garden next to Hillsborough Park all to yourself, a 30 second walk to the tram stop and a 10 minute tram ride to University. I’ll pay for your transport plus some extra. Thanks!

Chad Smith
Office B1 207

Flora says thanks!

Flora says thanks for the ‘Thank-You’ card!  (we also bought her some wine, ale (for Ken!) chocolates and flowers). She has popped in this morning with a card to say ‘thanks’ to all the friends she made here and will endeavor to keep in touch . I have placed it on the whiteboard in the lab. cheers, Andy.

Talk on evolution in natural populations – Tuesday 15/5 11am

A further candidate to the department’s Patrick & Irwin Packington Fellowship is attending for interview next Tuesday,  15 May,  and will be giving a presentation in the Common Room at 11 am.  The title of the talk will be

“Evolution in natural populations: integrating reproductive ecology and population genetics”.

Hamish Spencer – Thu 17th – lunch / drinks / dinner

Dear all,
Hamish Spencer is heading out birdwatching with Terry after his talk on Thursday (please see earlier message for abstract) but would be delighted to meet MolEcol lab members for lunch, drinks and dinner. We will grab a quick lunch at the Common Room from 12.20pm – please feel free to join us! We also plan to head to the Interval around 6pm – would be great to see you there! I have booked a table at Silversmiths ( for 8.30pm but need to confirm numbers on TUESDAY – please email me by then if you’re keen to come along!
Many thanks!
Anna (

Seminars on Tuesday 15 May

Penny Haddrill, Edinburgh: Evolution in natural populations: integrating reproductive ecology and population genetics

Common Room 11.00 (only 20mins)

Hiro Okada, Tokyo: SINEs: their discovery, their development in phylogeny and their future in function (Mammalian evolution revealed by SINEs)

BLT1 at 13.00

Please come along!


cousin marriage – Hamish Spencer, Thursday 17 May, 1pm

Hi all!

My PhD supervisor, Prof Hamish Spencer, is giving an Ecology and Evolution talk next Thursday, it would be fab if you’d like to come along!

He has a broad range of interests from population genetics / mathematical modelling (e.g. genomic imprinting, frequency dependent selection) to phylogenetics (e.g. phylogeny of NZ molluscs, shags and boobies), phylogeography and speciation, to the history of eugenics and phenotypic plasticity. Next Thursday he’ll give what looks like a fascinating talk on cousin marriage – more info below!

Hamish is a keen birder and we may be going out bird watching after his talk, but it would be fab if anyone wants to join us at the pub around 6 and/or for dinner around 7.30. Please let me know if you’re keen to join us and have a chance to chat with Hamish (he is great fun to talk to).

Anna 🙂

The Cousin Marriage Controversy: From Darwin and the US to Modern Britain
Hamish G. Spencer FRSNZ

In Western society today, most people are unaware of the legality of first-cousin marriage, an ignorance that reflects the strong stigmatization of such unions. These attitudes derive from concerns about the effects of inbreeding on human populations, which, in spite of having clear eugenic overtones, predate the advent of the modern eugenics movement. I examine the history of various laws banning cousin marriage in many American states and the absence of such laws elsewhere in the West, before discussing the scientific basis for these views. The topic is of current concern in light of recent controversial comments by British politicians about the consequences of cousin marriage in the Pakistani immigrant population in England.

Terry’s Group Meeting – this Friday (11-5) 2-3pm in B52

speciation journal club – starting next Tue (May 8)

Hi all,

Roger had the idea to start a new speciation journal club!

What? one person chooses a paper & gives a short introduction, followed by discussion by everybody

When? (roughly) every Tuesday at 1.30pm

Where? varying (Common Room this time)

Who? Everybody interested in speciation who has read the paper…

The first meeting will be next week Tue, May 8, 1.30pm in the Common Room. Allan will introduce the first paper:

Rova & Björklund 2011: Can Preference for Oviposition Sites Initiate Reproductive Isolation in Callosobruchus maculatus? (

If you are interested in joining the journal club, please send an email to – then you will be informed about dates/locations and the respective papers in the future!

Hope to see many of you on Tuesday, Anja

new method for assigning parentage and sibship

Hi all,

my old boss Jinliang Wang has just published a paper in Genetics outlining a new method for reconstructing family relationships. It is a “simplified” version of the full likelihood approach used in Colony. Jinliang shows, through analysing real and simulated data sets, that it is slightly less accurate than the full likelihood approach in Colony, but still more accurate than pairwise (e.g. Cervus) and exclusion (e.g. KinGroup) methods. The large benefit is that compared to the full likelihood method in Colony it should be much faster, while still allowing for genotyping error, polygamy, inferring sibship, half-sibship and parentage jointly, and using dominant and/or co-dominant markers.

The paper is:
Wang, J. (2012) Computationally efficient sibship and parentage assignment from multilocus marker data. Genetics 191: 183-194

You can download Colony, including the full and simplified likelihood methods, and a pairwise method similiar to Cervus, from:,1154,AR.html

If anyone is keen to give it a go, let me know!
Anna 🙂