Posted on Oct 10, 2021
Mention species concept nowadays and you are likely throw up their hands and give a negative or dismissive reaction. Nevertheless we have another go in our recent paper which appeared this week in the Biological Journal of Linnean Society. Our framework addresses two cornerstone issues in systematics that are often not discussed explicitly in genomic species discovery: diagnosability and how to determine it, and what criteria should be used to decide whether diagnosable lineages are conspecific or represent different species.
Posted in Pogona Research on Apr 14, 2021
In our recent study reported in PLoS Genetics, we take the unique opportunity to compare gene regulation in the embryonic gonads of the Bearded Dragon with sex determined by chromosomes with that of embryonic gonads where female sex is determined by environmental temperature. This provides a window within which to examine how the cell senses environmental temperature then transduces via ubiquitous signalling pathways to direct the epigenetic processes that govern sex determination.
Posted in Pogona Research on Feb 01, 2021
The alpine skink has XX/XY chromosomes like us, but unlike us the females can be converted to males in the egg by low temperatures. In a paper that appeared today in Heredity, Dumie Dissanayake shows that the frequency of sex reversal varies along an elevational gradient, and that the resultant sex ratio skew will potentially drive the loss of the Y chromosome at the highest elevations. Interesting stuff. https://rdcu.be/ceziZ.
Posted in Pogona Research on Jan 20, 2021
Sex in dragons can be a complicated affair. In a paper published today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society of London (Proceedings B), IAE PhD student Sarah Whiteley and her colleagues present some tantalizing evidence that the TSD Jacky Dragon has an underlying predisposition to be one sex or the other, a predisposition that is over-ridden at extreme incubation temperatures.
Fifty-one international experts today published the most comprehensive study of the extinction risks for turtles and tortoises in Current Biology. Turtles are in trouble. More than half of all 360 turtle and tortoise species face imminent extinction if current trends continue. Australian turtles feature prominently in the list of species of greatest concern.
Posted in Turtle Research on Jul 24, 2019
An exciting new NGO has emerged from the Piku program that has operated out of the University of Canberra since 2006. The new NGO is called the Piku Biodiversity Network Incorporated or PBN for short. Its purpose is to promote and enable biodiversity conservation in Papua New Guinea through environmental education, community-led conservation and knowledge generation.
Posted in Pogona Research on Jun 17, 2019
Those of you watching *The Desolation of Smaug* closely might have been surprised to see how quickly Smaug arose from his slumber when disturbed by Bilbo the Burglar. How is it that dragons can arouse so quickly if disturbed during hibernation? We might have the answer in our latest paper in BMC Genomics.
Posted in Uncategorized on Jun 03, 2019
Earth’s sixth major mass extinction event has begun and amphibians in particular are in peril; over 40% of amphibian species are threatened with extinction. One agent in their demise is chytrid fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, responsible for the most widespread, disease-induced declines and extinctions in vertebrates to date. New Guinea is the world’s largest tropical island and the last major center of amphibian biodiversity free from chytrid. Deb Bower, Simon Clulow and their colleagues call for urgent, unified, international, multidisciplinary action to prepare for the arrival of chytrid in New Guinea, to prevent or slow its spread within the island after it arrives, and to limit its impact upon the island’s frog populations.
Posted in Turtle Research on Apr 09, 2019
Who would have thought you could pull DNA from historical museum specimens dating back to 1796 and sequence it? In a paper that came out today in Scientific Reports we use whole mitochondrial sequences from living populations and assembly of fragments of DNA from museum type specimens to bring the two together and solve some longstanding taxonomic enigmas.
Posted in Education and Outreach on Apr 04, 2019
Publications addressing population genetics using single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are on the rise, indeed exponentially on the rise. If you are interested in analysing SNP data to answer that pressing PopGen question, there is an upcoming workshop that might be of interest to you. It is in Hobart (Australia) in April of 2019. You can express early-bird interest in attending by reading on and clicking the relevant link.