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The house mouse as a model system for evolutionary research

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The house mouse as a model system for evolutionary research

Although the house mouse is a well-established model system for biomedical research, it has received much less attention by evolutionary biologists so far. However, there are many aspects that make it particularly suitable for studying evolutionary questions. It has a well-defined history of population expansions and colonization of new habitats, ranging from desert climates to sub-Antarctic islands. Several colonizations have occurred during historic times, which allows studying the earliest phases of evolutionary adaptations. The mouse has also a broad behavioral repertoire making it suitable for analyzing social communication and mate choice. In the past years, we have build up a large collection of samples and animals from natural populations. I will report on the experimental approaches that we are using to better understand the genetics of adaptation and population differentiation. We can make full use of the genomic resources that were developed for the laboratory mouse, allowing us to do genome scans for adaptive trait genes and to map the genetic basis for complex traits, such as the unusual growth of mice on some islands. In parallel, we have started to assess the mechanisms of assortative mating in semi-natural enclosure experiments, whereby the first experiments indicate that a paternal imprinting effect is involved in mate choice decisions.

This talk is part of the Evolution and Development Seminar Series series.

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