Sharing is Caring: how gene exchange from viruses to insects lead to protection from predators”
Your genes do not only come from your parents. Surprisingly, a large portion of an animal’s genome can come from foreign origins - usually, bacteria or viruses. Usually this foreign DNA is “junk”, but scientists are discovering more and more cases where these genes play a vital role in the animal’s survival. I describe a discovery I made: that the fly species Drosophila ananassae inherited a toxin gene called CdtB. Many fly species have wasp predators that lay eggs inside fly babies and “eat them alive”, but the fly species D. ananassae is especially resistant to these wasps, largely due to protection conferred by the horizontally transferred toxin gene CdtB.
Speaker: Kirsten Verster (Integrative Biology)
“Redwood, Oak,…Acyclic?: Describing Mathematical Trees”
Networks can be used to model all sorts of real-life phenomena: an airline’s routes and destinations, the correspondence of Enlightenment philosophers, family trees, and more. Researchers studying a given network might want to know about its structure: is it connected, or in multiple pieces? Which nodes are at the center, and how far apart are the most distant nodes? And - importantly for this talk - is it a tree? I will introduce the study of tree networks, describe some of their properties and characterizations, and discuss how this fits into the process of mathematical research.
Speaker: Rebecca Whitman (Mathematics)
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