Dr. Denis Larkin's group at the Royal Veterinary College, University of London currently has a three year fully funded PhD studentship position in animal genomics available for EU applicants. Applicants from other countries please see conditions below.
Mammalian and avian chromosomes drastically differ in structure and evolutionary stability. While avian genomes tend to be small and structurally similar across the majority of avian species, the mammalian genomes are about three times larger and often differ in chromosome structures even among closely related species. This PhD programme will investigate the evolutionary basis of this difference and its implication on phenotypic diversity in the two animal classes. To achieve this the student will first develop and apply a novel technique for a fast improvement of fragmented mammalian genomes to complete chromosome assemblies to make them suitable for comparison with other genomes. This part of the project will focus on several species of neglected agricultural and biomedical importance. The genome assemblies produced by PhD student will then be combined with other genomes of suitable quality and compared to genomes from two phylogenetic Classes: mammals and birds. The student will focus on distribution of genomic features that are likely be related to evolutionary stability of avian genomes and structural dynamics of mammalian genomes. Among other features these will include genes, transposable elements, conserved non-coding sequences. The student will test the hypothesis that distribution of these features contributes to stability and evolutionary dynamics of animal genomes.
The studentship will commence in October 2018.