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And along came two spider genomes: Investigating the developmental consequences of whole genome duplication in spiders

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Tuesday, December 31, 2019
  • Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Competition Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Oxford Brookes University
Faculty of Health and Life Sciences,
Department of Biomedical and Medical Sciences

3 Year, full-time PhD studentship
Eligibility: Home UK/EU applicants who must be permanently resident in UK/EU
Closing date: 31 December 2019
Start date: September 2020
Interview: w/c 13 January 2020
Bursary p.a.: Bursary equivalent to UKRI national minimum stipend plus fees (2019/20 bursary rate is £15,009)
University fees and bench fees at the Home/EU rate will be met by the University for the 3 years of the Studentship.
Supervisors: Professor Alistair McGregor, Dr Anna Schoenauer and Dr Lauren Sumner-Rooney

Whole genome duplication is arguably the largest single mutational event that a genome can experience. The retained duplicated genes, or ohnologs, are thought to contribute to the evolution of gene regulatory networks and phenotypic diversification. Like vertebrates, some spiders have experienced multiple whole genome duplications in their evolutionary history. However, the consequences of whole genome duplication in spiders, and how these compare to independent events in vertebrates, are poorly understood. This project will first explore the repertoire of ohnologs in spiders with sequenced genomes, including the common house spider (Parasteatoda tepidariorum), a social spider (Stegodyphus mimosarum) and the brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa). The project will then investigate the expression and function of ohnologs during spider development compared to single copy genes in other arthropods that have not had a whole genome duplication. This will provide an excellent opportunity to test whether the outcomes of whole genome duplication are similar between vertebrates and invertebrates, and to reassess the contribution of these events to the evolution of animal genomes and diversity in a broader sense.

This project will provide training at the nexus of bioinformatics, bioimaging, and wet lab biology. The student will learn to reconstruct and analyse genomes and transcriptomes, study embryogenesis, gene expression and gene function, and examine morphology using high-powered X-ray imaging techniques.

For further information contact Professor Alistair McGregor:

Funding Notes

Applicants should have a first or upper second class honours degree in a relevant area of biology or a related subject from a Higher Education Institution in the UK or acceptable equivalent qualification. EU Applicants must have a valid IELTS Academic test certificate (or equivalent) with an overall minimum score of 7.0 and no score below 6.0 issued in the last 2 years by an approved test centre.

How to apply:
Applications should be sent to and should include the following application form
(View Website).

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