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Cardiff, UK: PhD, local adaptation in sheep PDF Tisk Email
PhD position, University of Cardiff, UK 
Topic: Link between genetic variation and local adaptation in sheep/mouflon
Start date of the PhD: 1st October 2015
Duration of the PhD: 3.5 years
Supervisors: Dr Pablo Orozco-terWengel

Co-Supervisor: Prof Mark Beaumont
Understanding how species adapt to the environment they live in is
a major goal in evolutionary biology. This is of particular value in
light of climate change, where extant species will have to adapt to
warmer and potentially harsher conditions relatively fast. However,
identifying the genomic regions involved in local adaptation has been
a challenging problem because the tools to survey species' genomes
have only become available in the last two decades, e.g. SNP arrays and
whole genome sequencing. The aim of this project is to analyse British
sheep occurring in contrasting environments (mountain vs. lowland) using
the Ovine HD SNP chip (~700,000 SNPs) to identify genetic variation
linked to local adaptation in the UK's heterogeneous agricultural
landscape. Additionally, the SNP chip data will be analysed in combination
with whole genome data for a population of Iranian wild mouflon (the
sheep's ancestor) and Iranian sheep from the domestication centre
in order to identify genetic signatures of selection specific to the
domestication event.

The PhD student will be based 80% at Cardiff University, where the

research group specialises in identifying signatures of selection
using next generation sequencing in livestock and wildlife, and 20% at
Bristol University, a world leader in the development of statistical
approaches to study demographic history using genetic data. For this
project the PhD student will be trained in sample preparation for SNP
chip analysis and bioinformatics analyses (e.g. data quality filtering,
demographic analyses, and identifying signatures of selection). This
experimental design will allow the PhD student to compare populations of
British mountain vs. lowland sheep, in the equivalent of a replicated
experiment, to identify specific signatures of local adaptation to
the environment where these populations live in, while controlling for
confounding factors such as the demographic history (to be simulated
with approximate Bayesian computation) and the selection signature left
by the domestication process (to be accounted for by comparing domestic
sheep against Iranian wild mouflon).
Informal enquiries are also encouraged. Please contact Dr. Pablo
Orozco-terWengel at '
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Further information can be found
at: http://www.cardiff.ac.uk/biosi/research/organismsandenvironment/index.html
Funding Notes:
Applications are invited from graduates who possess at least 2.1
Honours or Master's degree in biology, ecology, bioinformatics or
other relevant discipline.
To apply, please email your CV, 2 referees and relevant academic
qualifications along with a covering letter to Dr. Pablo Orozco-terWengel
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 ' AND also submit an online
application at the following University's online portal by selecting
'Doctor of Philosophy (Biosciences) October Start - 01 Oct 2015': 
This project is funded through NERC GW4+ DTP and is open for Home/EU
students only. EU students who do not meet the residency criteria are
eligible for fees only award.
Pablo Orozco-terWengel <
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