Research Assistant position available in 2020

A Research Assistant position will be available soon in the Molecular Ecology, Evolution, and Phylogenetics Lab in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney. This position will be advertised in January 2020 and the successful candidate will be able to commence immediately. This is a full-time position that is funded for 12 …

The effects of inbreeding on Thoroughbred racehorses

A scientific study conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney has uncovered breeding strategies to improve the athletic success of Thoroughbred racehorses. The researchers found that horses with higher levels of inbreeding tended to have reduced athletic ability. Thoroughbred horses are often mated with related individuals in order to select for desirable traits, ultimately …

How cathedral termites arrived to build their ‘skyscrapers’

They build among the tallest non-human structures (proportionately speaking) in the world and now it’s been discovered the termites that live in Australia’s remote Top End originated from overseas – rafting vast distances and migrating from tree-tops to the ground, as humans later did. Referred to as “cathedral” termites, theĀ Nasutitermes triodiaeĀ build huge mounds up to …

The Higgs Bison: Mystery species hidden in cave art

Ancient DNA research has revealed that Ice Age cave artists recorded a previously unknown hybrid species of bison and cattle in great detail on cave walls more than 15,000 years ago. The mystery species, known affectionately by the researchers as the Higgs Bison* because of its elusive nature, originated over 120,000 years ago through the …

Oceans apart: Sampling the hawksbill turtle’s genetic diversity

Eight genetically distinct populations of hawksbill turtles have been identified in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. The study by researchers from the School of Life and Environmental Sciences has revealed connections between populations in different oceans and identified management units for conservation. Marine turtles travel around the world to feed and mate, but as the saying goes, …

Rapid bird evolution after the age of dinosaurs

The most ambitious genetic study ever undertaken on bird evolution has found that almost all modern birds diversified after the dinosaurs became extinct 66 million years ago. “The popular view until now has been that the extraordinary diversity of birds began during the dinosaur age but we found little support for this,” said Associate Professor …

New study of evolutionary rates in viruses

Sebastian Duchene and Simon Ho, together with colleague Eddie Holmes, have published a paper on viral evolutionary rates in Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. This paper has important implications for our understanding of the evolutionary rates and timescales of viruses. Viruses are responsible for a large proportion of infectious diseases. They can …

Deep-sea isopods confirmed to be ancient

Evolution, extinction and recolonisation. These processes formed the core of Luana Lins’s exploration into the isopods of the deep sea. This environment was once thought to be lifeless, but four decades ago the abyss was discovered to be teeming with extremely diverse life forms. The discoveries continue today with Luana’s research, which asks the question …

Genome-invading retroviruses are a nasty surprise

An international team of scientists, including Dr Simon Ho from the University of Sydney, has found that the koala genome is slowly being invaded by a retrovirus associated with Chlamydia infection and leukaemia. Unlike other viruses, retroviruses must actually copy their genetic material into the host genome as part of their life cycle. On occasion, …