april, 2020

28apr1:00 pm2:00 pmMemorizing past environments – non-genetic inheritance in fish (online CBD seminar)Prof Irene Adrian-Kalchauser


Event Details


The last decades of biological research have been characterized by a focus on genetic inheritance and by the identification of genetic components for many phenotypes and diseases. However, the heritability of some traits can so far not be explained by genetics alone. This “missing inheritance” has triggered intense efforts to re-evaluate ideas on alternative and DNA-independent modes of inheritance. Today, we understand that non-genetic inheritance occurs in microbes, plants, invertebrates, vertebrates and mammals – it appears to be a core property of cellular life.

The implications of non-genetic inheritance for ecology and evolution are potentially profound. In-silico approaches suggest that non-genetic inheritance may facilitate rapid adaptation, affect the speed of evolution, and may promote species persistence in the face of environmental change.

The seminar will provide an overview on current knowledge and emerging patterns in this exciting field, from theory to molecular mechanisms to ecological phenomena, and will share recent insights on DNA methylation, maternal RNA, and genomic substrates of non-genetic inheritance gained from a novel model, the invasive round goby.


Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser is Associate Professor of Fish and Wildlife Health and Director of the Center of Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI) at the University of Bern.

Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser studied Molecular Biology at the University of Vienna, completed a dissertation in Genetics as a Böhringer-Ingelheim fellow at the Epigenetics Department of the Friedrich Miescher Institute in Basel (Switzerland), and then moved to the Department of Environmental Sciences at the University of Basel for postdoctoral work. Within the framework of an University excellence fellowship, a Stay On Track Award of the University of Basel as well as a Marie Heim-Vögtlin Fellowship of the SNSF, she then habilitated on invasive fish and their genetic and epigenetic characteristics. She is also a graduate of a CAS in Clinical Research and an internationally accredited didactics training course of the Staff & Educational Development Association (London). Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser is an associate member of the Center for Marine Evolutionary Biology at the University of Gothenburg as well as an Antelope program fellow at the University of Basel and is committed to research-oriented teaching, which earned her a nomination for the Teaching Excellence Award “Breaking new ground – Learning means connecting” of the University of Basel in 2019.


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




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