Special Seminar: Michael Werner “”The epigenetic hills, valleys, and consequences of phenotypic plasticity.”

Apr 15, 2019

Special Seminar 

Michael Werner

Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Tübingen

“The epigenetic hills, valleys, and consequences of phenotypic plasticity.”

Early life experiences can affect the development of physiology, behavior, and even morphological structures later in life. While post-translational modifications and non-coding RNAs are capable of transmitting environmental information, a holistic understanding of environmental influence that places molecular mechanisms in an ecological and evolutionary context is still lacking. I utilize mouth-form plasticity exhibited in the nematode Pristionchis pacificus as a model for investigating environmental influence. Depending on the conditions experienced as juveniles, an irreversible decision is made in P. pacificus adults to develop either (a) a narrow-mouth bacterial feeding morph, or (b) a wide-mouthed predatory morph with an extra denticle. The predatory mouth form not only expands the dietary range, but also is an effective weapon to kill other nematode competitors. To understand how environmental cues are communicated to this developmental “switch” decision, I employ a wide range of molecular approaches including epigenomic profiling, mass spectrometry, and developmental transcriptomics. Finally, I combine these mechanistic observations with ecological experiments to understand the population biology and functional consequences of both morphs, and ultimately, of phenotypic plasticity.”

Monday, April 15, 12:20 PM
Morison Room, Corson-Mudd 

Co-hosted by the Boyce Thompson Institute and Andy Clark, Cornell Molecular Biology and Genetics

Subscribe to BTI's LabNotes Newsletter!



Boyce Thompson Institute
533 Tower Rd.
Ithaca, NY 14853

Copyright © 2023 | Boyce Thompson Institute | All rights reserved | Privacy Policy | Cookie Policy