Ghana's Leading SciComm Platform

PhD Position : Are piRNA clusters the central force limiting the abundance of selfish DNA?

Positions by 99Science

Transposable elements (TEs) are stretches of parasitic DNA that multiply in our genomes. The genomes of most species are riddled with remnants of past TE invasions. Interestingly the TE composition differs dramatically among species, with some species having many TEs and others having very few. What is responsible for these pronounced differences among species? We still do not have an answer to this central open problem in evolutionary biology.

Here we will test a promising hypothesis. Computer simulations show that the size of piRNA clusters – genomic regions that produce small RNA that suppresses TEs – could be a major factor determining the abundance of TEs. In this project we will probe the relationship between the abundance of TEs and the size of piRNA clusters in multiple Drosophila species using cutting-edge approaches such as small RNA sequencing, long-read sequencing (Oxford Nanopore) and population genetic simulations. We will complement this work by estimating the fitness consequences of TE insertions in experimental Drosophila populations.  

This project will allow the student to work on an exciting topic with a young and international team, get in contact with cutting edge technologies and receive first-rate training in bioinformatics. The project will involve 35% lab-work and 65% computer work. Some programming skills (e.g. R, bash, Python) will be beneficial.

The salary is internationally competitive (14 times 2.237Euro before tax) and the position is located in the wonderful city of Vienna, which was for the tenth time elected as the most liveable city in the world.

Please apply by 3. Feb. 2022

Send your application (motivation letter, CV, two references) to Dr. Robert Kofler [email protected]

Web pages:

– https://www.kofler.or.at/bioinformatic/

– https://www.vetmeduni.ac.at/populationsgenetik/forschung/gruppe-kofler

Some literature

– https://genome.cshlp.org/content/early/2018/04/30/gr.228627.117

– https://academic.oup.com/mbe/article/36/7/1457/5435964

– https://academic.oup.com/mbe/article/38/4/1482/6008717

– https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/mec.16311


Subscribe for Updates

Subscribe for Updates

Leave a Reply