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EMBO Conference Series

Experimental Approaches to Evolution and Ecology using Yeast

EMBL Heidelberg, Germany Wednesday 29 September - Sunday 3 October 2010 Registration closed
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The cellular and molecular basis of life is the outcome of a long process of evolution governed by variation and selection. Great advances in understanding how organisms work have been made in recent years, largely through the use of a few well-understood model systems such as yeast. Our understanding of evolution is much less complete, in part because of the less effective use of model systems to study variation and evolution. The intention of this conference series is to explore the concept of using yeast as a model system in evolution and ecology, building on our deep understanding of its physiology and genetics, and taking advantage of sophisticated techniques to manipulate the yeast cell and it shall concentrate on four core issues in evolutionary biology, providing emphasis in all four areas on wetlab experimental approaches. The first is the overall architecture of the genome and the major processes that have contributed to its evolution. The second is the ecological and genetic structure of natural populations that forms the stage on which this evolution has taken place. The third involves the mechanisms of selection that lead to adaptation, and in particular how these can be studied experimentally in the laboratory. The fourth is the use of yeast to illuminate important problems in adaptation, especially the evolution of sex and mating systems. The conference series will bring together scientists working in all of these areas to show how integrated research programs using yeast as a model could be as successful in ecology and evolution as they have been in cellular and molecular biology. Yeast has pioneered many areas of cell biological research and many new technologies have been used first with this organism in order to explore their general applicability. Currently, significant progress has been made in technologies suitable to assess biological diversity, ranging from high-throughput sequencing, tiling arrays to high-throughput quantitative cell biological investigations. The intention of this conference series is to bring scientists engaged in technology development together with evolutionary biologists, population geneticists and classical cell biologists and geneticists in order to explore experimental strategies to study the mechanisms and design principles of evolution.