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Evolution Education Trust PhD project: Disruption of genomic imprinting in hybrid house mice

Project Description

The University of Bath is inviting applications for this PhD opportunity based at the Milner Centre for Evolution, a unique, cross-faculty research centre bridging biology, health and education. The Centre is dedicated to a broad range of fundamental research questions relating to evolutionary biology; from in deep time, to the micro-evolutionary dynamics of a disease outbreak. We have a strong focus on public engagement and outreach. We are located in a dedicated multi-million-pound building that opened on the University campus in September 2018. For further information about the centre see

Project Overview:

Hybrid incompatibilities are a common mechanism of reproductive isolation between incipient species. Genomic imprinting is thought to contribute to hybrid defects in reproduction and development; in rodents, aberrant phenotypes related to loss of imprinting have been documented in several interspecies hybrids. The goal of this project is to characterise genome-wide imprinting in hybrids between house mouse subspecies, an important model for understanding the early stages of speciation, and measure potentially related placental growth defects. Understanding how loss of imprinting causes hybrid incompatibilities will provide novel insights into the speciation process, and the role of imprinted genes in development within species.

The student selected for this project will integrate approaches from evolutionary genomics and developmental biology to (1) characterise genome-wide patterns of imprinting in hybrids, and (2) determine effects of imprinting on placental growth. This project will provide broad training in a variety of techniques including genomic and transcriptomic (RNA-seq) analyses, molecular genetics, phenotyping, and histology.

This project builds on PI Turner’s experience investigating hybrid dysgenesis in house mice, co-I Murrell’s expertise in epigenetics, and co-I Wolf’s expertise in evolutionary implications of imprinting.

Keywords: imprinting, epigenetics, speciation, hybridisation, development, transcriptomics


Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or high Upper Second Class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent qualification gained outside the UK) in a relevant subject. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous.


Informal enquiries should be directed to Leslie Turner, .

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form:

On the application form, please ensure that you quote ‘Evolution Education Trust’ in the Finance section and the supervisor’s name and project title in the ‘Your research interests’ section. Should you wish to be considered for more than project, quote the projects in order of preference and upload a separate personal statement relevant to each one.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found here:

Interviews will take place in Bath on 14 June 2019.

Anticipated start date: 30 September 2019.

Funding Notes

This project is one of a number that are in competition for funding from the Evolution Education Trust View Website.

A studentship will provide UK/EU tuition fees, a stipend in line with the UKRI rate (£15,009 p.a. for 2019/20) and a generous budget for research and training as well as funds to support outreach activities for a period of up to 3.5 years.

Note: ONLY UK and EU applicants are eligible for studentship funding. International applicants will not be considered unless they can fully self-fund (fees and living costs).


Turner LM, Harr B. 2014. Genome-wide mapping in a house mouse hybrid zone reveals hybrid sterility loci and Dobzhansky-Muller interactions. eLife 3: e02504.

Wolf JB, Oakey RJ, Feil R. 2014. Imprinted gene expression in hybrids: perturbed mechanisms and evolutionary implications. Heredity 113: 167-175

How good is research at University of Bath in Biological Sciences?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 24.50

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

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