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Postdoctoral Research Associate in Plant Comparative Genomics & Phylogenomics

Durham, United Kingdom
£37,099 - £44,263 per annum
Closing date
4 Dec 2023

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The Role

Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Research Associate in Plant comparative genomics and phylogenomics. The project focuses on the impact of mutualism breakdown on the genome, using the ant-plant symbiotic clade Hydnophytinae (Rubiaceae). The Hydnophytinae contain 105 epiphytic plant species in Australasia, and involve plants with several levels of mutualistic dependence on ants: facultative species inhabited by generalist arboreal ants, obligate species depending on one or two specialized ant species, and species that have secondarily lost the association with ants. The Hydnophytinae offers unmatched evolutionary replication for studying mutualism breakdown due to its abundant breakdown events relative to clade size. The project, funded by ERC/UKRI, is led by Professor Guillaume Chomicki and will investigate the consequences of mutualism breakdown, using Hydnophytinae as a model system. The successful applicant will have the necessary experience and skills to contribute to the research project by leading the part on comparative genomics and phylogenomics. In a nutshell, this will involve (1) building a solid phylogenomic framework for all 105 Hydnophytinae species plus outgroups, and (2) assemble and annotate genomes for all these species, (3) to study the evolution the mutualistic gene toolkit (contraction and expansion, selection), and (4) ask whether there are genome-wide signatures of mutualism breakdown.

This post is fixed term for four years for this fixed period only.

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