Dr. Alexander Brandt

There are many strategies to reproduce and each strategy has its pros and cons. While these pros and cons have been studied thoroughly in the past (e.g. by me ;-) see Publications), the evolutionary innovations underlying their origins remain pretty elusive.

I am a Marie-Sklodowska-Curie fellow aiming to uncover the proximate causes of alternative, i.e. non-sexual, ways to generate offspring. For this, I have established Bacillus stick insects as a new model organism at the DEE. Bacillus stick insects are especially well suited to study the origin of alternative reproductive strategies because they comprise closely related lineages that utilize various alternative reproductive strategies including obligate and facultative parthenogenesis, hybridogenesis (explained here: doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2018.11.046) and androgenesis (here: doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2015.0534).

Some hybrid lineages of Bacillus are particularly curious because they have retained a perfect F1 hybrid state through parthenogenetic or hybridogenetic reproduction. This allows me to investigate how hybridisation per se can cause transitions between reproductive strategies, e.g.: what is the role of gene expression regulation and alternative splicing in newly formed hybrids? Is there an impact of (mito-nuclear) incompatibilities?

Besides, I am currently elucidating the genomic substrate for maintenance and diversification of ancient asexual oribatid mites with Jens Bast (sex-lab.org) as well as genome evolution in asexual ladybirds.

For details of my MSCA project that focuses on hybridogenesis, please visit: cordis.europa.eu/project/id/101024860

My website (under construction):


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Office: 4304
Phone: +4121 692 4279

Member of Schwander group