Genomic imprinting is a unique property of some genes that show differential expression when maternally and paternally inherited. Imprinted genes are either maternally expressed and paternally silenced or the reverse. Why would natural selection favor genes with monoallelic expression?
The project will develop the co-adaptation theory of genomic imprinting that relies on the assumption that genetic similarity between genes expressed in mother and offspring increases fitness of both parties. Therefore both mother and offspring benefit from suppressing the expression of paternally inherited genes in the embryo.
The aim of the research is to: (a) provide a formal mathematical framework to test the the co-adaptation theory, (b) test whether empirical evidence suggest maternal control of embryo expression, (c) integrate this mathematical framework within the existing body of theory on the evolution of genomic imprinting (in particular the kinship theory of genomic imprinting).
Additional supervision with Vincent Jansen (RHUL) & Nick Lane (UCL)