News & jobs

Here you can read news, announcements and job positions related to our group.

New grants and stipends for our team members!

posted May 16, 2017, 6:40 AM by Mateusz Konczal   [ updated May 16, 2017, 7:06 AM by Piotr Bentkowski ]

Recently we received some grants and stipends!

PRELUDIUM is a National Science Center’s opportunity intended for pre-doctoral researchers about to embark on their scientific career. We are happy to announce that Aleksandra Łukasiewicz from our team received this grant for the project entitled Environmental quality and intensity of sexual conflict. The project aim to test the assumption that the low-quality food during development should reduce intensity of sexual conflict. Ola with her project was first in the ranking in the environmental biology & evolution panel (NZ8)! Congratulations Ola! Here you can find out more about the project.

START is a stipend from Foundation for Polish Sciences that is dedicated to young researchers, at the outset of their career, who have already achieved some success in their field.  This year foundation awarded 100 young researchers; 3 people with most highly rated research accomplishments received distinctions. One of them is Mateusz Konczal. Mateusz received this award for his work in evolve & resequence research. More about his work is published byPolish Press Agency (in polish).

Kin selection promotes female productivity and cooperation between the sexes

posted Mar 16, 2017, 12:32 AM by Jacek Radwan   [ updated May 16, 2017, 7:05 AM by Piotr Bentkowski ]

Hamilton’s theory of kin selection explains the evolution of costly traits that benefit other individuals by highlighting the fact that passing genes to offspring is not the only way of increasing the representation of those genes in subsequent generations: Genes are also shared with other classes of relatives. Consequently, any heritable trait that affects fitness of relatives should respond to kin selection. In the article just published in Science Advances we tested this core prediction of kin selection theory by letting bulb mites (Rhizoglyphus robini) evolve in populations structured into groups of relatives or nonrelatives during the reproductive phase of the life cycle. In accordance with predictions derived from kin selection theory, we found that evolution in groups of relatives resulted in increased female reproductive output. This increase at least partly results from the evolution of male traits that elevate their partners’ fecundity. Thus, our results demonstrate that kin selection can mediate sexual conflict and, more generally, highlight the power and universality of kin selection. Press release (in Polish)

Transcriptome-based primer design: bank vole MHC class I

posted Nov 4, 2016, 4:33 AM by Magdalena Migalska

Although high-throughput sequencing has increasingly been used for genotyping families of co-amplifying genes, its potential to facilitate the initial characterisation of such genes in non-model species has not been explored. In our recent article in Heredity we found that, while de novo transcriptome assembly of major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I genes does not reconstruct sequences of individual alleles, it allows the identification of conserved regions for PCR primer design.

Using the newly designed primers, we characterised for the first time MHC class I sequences in an Arvicolinae rodent, the bank vole (Myodes glareolus). We showed high allelic diversity and inter-individual variation in the number of expressed loci. Phylogenetic analysis revealed a lack of orthology to MHC I of other Cricetidae, which is consistent with the high gene turnover of this region. Strong signatures of positive selection were found for eight amino acid sites, most of which are inferred to bind antigens in human MHC, indicating conservation of structure despite rapid sequence evolution.

Testing genotyping strategies for ultra-deep sequencing of a co-amplifying gene family: MHC class I in the sedge warbler

posted Oct 26, 2016, 7:01 AM by Magdalena Migalska   [ updated Oct 26, 2016, 9:58 AM ]

Characterisation of highly duplicated genes, such as those of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), remains a challenging task. In a recent article in Molecular Ecology Resources we demonstrated that the high throughput sequencing enables accurate genotyping of large sets of co-amplifying loci given the sufficient coverage per amplicon is reached.

With ultra-deep Illumina sequencing of replicated samples and a simulated dataset we tested the effect of amplicon coverage (range: 500-20 000 reads) on the repeatability of genotyping using four different protocols:
- AVT: Allele Validation Threshold (Radwan et al. 2012)  
- RA: Replicated Amplicon (Sommer et al. 2013)
- DOC: Degree Of Change (Lighten et al. 2014)
- AC: Adjustable Clustering with AmpliSAS (Sebastian et al. 2016)

The within-method repeatability of allele calling increased with coverage and approached or exceeded 90% at ≥ 5 000 reads per amplicon. The agreement between methods was also high, especially at high coverages, which adds confidence in the reliability of genotyping and affirms comparability of results between research groups. The findings were further supported by the analysis of the simulated dataset.

The AC method (developed by our team, see Sebastian et al. 2016) proved to be the most effective. Moreover, the AC can easily be implemented with existing on-line software AmpliSAS.

Red Queen drives positive selection on MHC genes

posted Nov 25, 2015, 5:25 AM by Jacek Radwan

MHC genes are the paradigm for the positive selection whereby novel MHC alleles are strongly favored by natural selection. Our simulations (Ejsmond and Radwan 2015; PLOS Computational Biology)  showed that novel mutations in MHC are strongly favored by frequency-dependent selection arising from host-pathogen coevolution (the Red Queen process), but not by heterozygote advantage. Our results challenge the predominating view on the processes driving the evolution of MHC genes.

Male display reveals mutational load in guppy fish.

posted Nov 25, 2015, 5:13 AM by Jacek Radwan   [ updated Nov 25, 2015, 8:34 AM by Magdalena Herdegen ]

Why do females of many species show preferences for elaborated male behavioural displays or morphological ornaments continues to puzzle evolutionary biologists. One hypothesis poses that these traits reflect the load of deleterious mutations carried by males: males with heavy loads are thought to be unable to invest in costly displays. In a recent article (Herdegen and Radwan, 2015, Animal Behaviour 110: 105–111) we show that in guppy fish, induced mutations indeed negatively affected the courtship display rate, but not sexually selected orange spots. Thus our results demonstrate that energetically costly courtship display, but not orange coloration, is a reliable indicator of mutation load.  

3rd Polish Evolutionary Conference - Summary

posted Oct 2, 2015, 4:20 AM by Magdalena Migalska   [ updated Oct 2, 2015, 4:31 AM ]

Polish Evolutionary Conference in Poznań (2015)
Between 24th and 26th September 2015 we participated in organization of the 3rd Polish Evolutionary Conference (PEC) at the Biology Department of Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan. PEC is an annual event co-organized by the Committee for Evolutionary and Theoretical Biology, Polish Academy of Science together with different scientific centers in Poland.

The conference has been a success, more than 100 students and researchers from Poland and Europe attended the event.

On 24th September the official opening had place at the Biology Department, followed by two days of informative, cross-section evolutionary lectures and a poster session hosting more than 50 posters. Participants had also a chance to attend outstanding plenary talks by Grażyna Jasieńska, Eva Jablonka, Jochen Wolf and Ryszard Korona. The conference dinner with a jazz concert in the Blue Note Jazz Club ended the second day of the conference, providing an excellent opportunity for discussion, relax and networking.

We hope that the attendees had fully enjoyed the scientific level of the conference, the venue and the friendly atmosphere. It was a great pleasure for us to co-organize and host PEC III 2015 here in Poznan, and we all look forward for the 4th PEC edition in Bialystok, next year! 

3rd PEC Abstract Book available here!

AmpliSAS: a web server for multilocus genotyping using next-generation amplicon sequencing data

posted Sep 3, 2015, 8:37 AM by Alvaro Sebastian

We want to introduce the new published tool 'AmpliSAS' developed in our lab for analyzing amplicon sequencing data. This will be specially useful in the genotyping task for complex gene families, such as MHC, with multiple loci and copy number variation among individuals (Babik et al. 2010; Lighten et al. 2014). Amplicon sequencing is also a widely used technique for taxonomic classification amplifying a variety of genes: cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (CO1), rRNA genes (16S/18S/28S), plant specific genes (rbcL, matK, and trnH-psbA) and nuclear internal transcribed spacers (ITSs) (Sogin et al. 2006; Kress et al. 2014; Joly et al. 2014).

You can use AmpliSAS online at:

And here the link to the original article:

AmpliSAS: a web server for multilocus genotyping using next-generation amplicon sequencing data. Sebastian, A., Herdegen, M., Migalska, M. & Radwan, J. Mol. Ecol. Resour. (2015). doi:10.1111/1755-0998.12453

If you don't have access you can read the submitted (preprint) version.

Amplicon Sequencing Workflow:
Amplicon Sequencing Workflow


Next-generation sequencing (NGS) technologies are revolutionizing the fields of biology and medicine as powerful tools for amplicon sequencing (AS). Using combinations of primers and barcodes, it is possible to sequence targeted genomic regions with deep coverage for hundreds, even thousands, of individuals in a single experiment. This is extremely valuable for the genotyping of gene families in which locus-specific primers are often difficult to design, such as the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). The utility of AS is, however, limited by the high intrinsic sequencing error rates of NGS technologies and other sources of error such as polymerase amplification or chimera formation. Correcting these errors requires extensive bioinformatic post-processing of NGS data. Amplicon Sequence Assignment (amplisas) is a tool that performs analysis of AS results in a simple and efficient way, while offering customization options for advanced users. amplisas is designed as a three-step pipeline consisting of (i) read demultiplexing, (ii) unique sequence clustering and (iii) erroneous sequence filtering. Allele sequences and frequencies are retrieved in excel spreadsheet format, making them easy to interpret. amplisas performance has been successfully benchmarked against previously published genotyped MHC data sets obtained with various NGS technologies.

Polish Evolutionary Conference 2015

posted Jul 13, 2015, 3:54 AM by Alvaro Sebastian

We are pleased to announce third edition of the Polish Evolutionary Conference (PEC III) which will take place in Poznań on 24-26 September 2015 at the Faculty of Biology, Adam Mickiewicz University.

The program will consist of four plenary lectures, contributed talks and a poster session. The official language of the conference is English.

Plenary talks:
•    Eva Jablonka, Tel Aviv University “The evolutionary implications of epigenetic inheritance” •    Grażyna Jasieńska, Jagiellonian University “An evolutionary view on women's biology and health”
•    Jochen Wolf, Uppsala University “Speciation genomics in natural populations”
•    Ryszard Korona, Jagiellonian University “Genetic dominance and epistasis as buffers against natural selection: insights form experimental analyses of the yeast model”.

Organising Commitee:
Prof. dr hab. Jacek Radwan
Prof. dr hab. Izabela Makałowska
Prof. dr hab. Tomasz Osiejuk

More information in the conference website:

New model of MHC evolution

posted Jan 23, 2015, 3:46 AM by Alvaro Sebastian   [ updated Jan 23, 2015, 5:00 AM by Piotr Bentkowski ]

In our recent paper (Ejsmond MJ, Radwan J & Wilson AB2014 “Sexual selection and the evolutionary dynamics of the majorhistocompatibility complex” . Proceedings of the Royal Society B: BiologicalSciences) we demonstrate that combined action of pathogen-mediated selection and disassortative mating leads to higher levels of MHC polymorphism than each of these mechanisms acting alone. While natural selection produces the Red Queen dynamics characteristic of parasite-host interactions, sexual selection stabilizes allele frequencies, damping major fluctuations in dominant alleles and preventing the loss of variants that might otherwise be eliminated by drift. This subtle difference creates a complex interaction between MHC allelic diversity and population size.

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