Two postdoc positions on the genetics of convergence

2 September 2021

We are looking for two postdoctoral research associates to work on a NERC-funded project “The genetic basis of convergence across evolutionary time” led by Dr Kanchon Dasmahapatra at the University of York and Dr Nicola Nadeau at the University of Sheffield.

This project seeks to understand how the genetics of convergent evolution differs with differing evolutionary timescales.

We will determine whether the genetic mechanism of convergence (collateral evolution, parallel evolution and divergent genetic mechanisms) depends on the relatedness of the species, the effect size of the loci involved and/or conservation of the genetic pathways controlling the phenotype. In South America there are mimicry rings in which many defended species converge on near identical colour patterns.

This project will investigate the genetic basis of convergent mimicry in wing patterns among 18 species of butterflies and moths, which include the well-studied Heliconius butterflies.

This is a unique system in the Lepidoptera in which we know that some recently diverged lineages have converged in defensive colouration by collateral evolution, whereas other clades have achieved similar phenotypes despite diverging over 100 million years ago. This provides an ideal model system in which to explore the likelihood of different mechanisms of convergence among lineages at a range of evolutionary timescales.

One of the PDRAs will be based in Sheffield, supervised by Nicola Nadeau. This postdoc will lead the bioinformatic analysis of population genomic and gene expression data sets to identify genes controlling within-species colour-pattern variation in multiple species of ithomiine butterflies and Chetone day-flying moths.

More information and to apply for this post.

Closing date: 29th September 2021. Start Date: 1st November 2021 (negotiable).

The second PDRA will be employed by the University of York and supervised by Kanchon Dasmahapatra. This postdoc will work in Peru and Ecuador (with our partner, Caroline Baquet, at IKIAM University), collecting samples, breeding stocks of these species and assessing gene expression in situ.

This position will be advertised shortly, to start in April 2022.