december, 2018

04dec1:00 pm2:00 pmGenetics of Social Behaviour: Lessons from Parental CareDR Chris Cunningham


Event Details

Behaviour is fundamentally important to the fitness of animals, especially social animals. Animals must therefore change behaviours as their social environment changes to maximize their fitness. However, the molecular mechanisms that initiate behavioural changes and stabilize different behavioural states, especially epigenetics mechanisms, are not identified or well-understood for a broad number of organisms. A question of this magnitude needs to be addressed using a large number of species and for many different social behaviour. My group uses the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides as a molecular model of parental care. These beetles bury a small vertebrate carcass to form a nest and parents directly feed offspring pre-digested carrion by regurgitation. This behaviour is well characterized phenotypically and responsive to changes of social environment. We use several molecular genetic and  –omics techniques to address this how these beetles initiate behavioural changes and stabilize different behavioural states.

Dr Chris Cunningham’s webpage

If you would like to speak to Chris please contact Mike Ritchie




(Tuesday) 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Dyer's Brae Seminar Room

Dyers Brae, School of Biology, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Greenside Place, Fife, KY16 9TH, UK


Maria Tello Ramos, Niki Khan, Nick Jones, Carolin Kosiol