My research is focussed on comparing the risks and benefits of hybridisation for adaptation to changing and stressful environments. I use experimental evolution with Saccharomyces cerevisiae (Baker's yeast) to model this process. In simple terms, we aim to model what happens in the wild in a test tube. I hope to gain understanding of not only the process of adaptation to environmental change itself, but also investigate the genomic changes which underly this adaptation process. Currently we have around 1000 generations of adaptation to different environments, which we are in the process of analysing phenotypically and genomically.
We are always happy to supervise students at both a Bachelors and Masters level interested in carrying out a project in evolution. This can involve lab work, bioinformatics or a combination of both. If interested, feel free to contact myself or Rike Stelkens for further details on possible projects within the Stelkens lab.
I urval från Stockholms universitets publikationsdatabas
Aneuploidy in yeast
2019. Ciaran Gilchrist, Rike Stelkens. Yeast 36 (9), 525-539Artikel
Aneuploidy is the loss or gain of chromosomes within a genome. It is often detrimental and has been associated with cell death and genetic disorders. However, aneuploidy can also be beneficial and provide a quick solution through changes in gene dosage when cells face environmental stress. Here, we review the prevalence of aneuploidy in Saccharomyces, Candida, and Cryptococcus yeasts (and their hybrid offspring) and analyse associations with chromosome size and specific stressors. We discuss how aneuploidy, a segregation error, may in fact provide a natural route for the diversification of microbes and enable important evolutionary innovations given the right ecological circumstances, such as the colonisation of new environments or the transition from commensal to pathogenic lifestyle. We also draw attention to a largely unstudied cross link between hybridisation and aneuploidy. Hybrid meiosis, involving two divergent genomes, can lead to drastically increased rates of aneuploidy in the offspring due to antirecombination and chromosomal missegregation. Because hybridisation and aneuploidy have both been shown to increase with environmental stress, we believe it important and timely to start exploring the evolutionary significance of their co-occurrence.