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Molecular Ecology and Evolution Lab

Group photo

Our research is rooted in the fields of Behavioral Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. The DNA lab, which is the common centre of our activities, was formed in the late 1980’s by Torbjörn von Schantz, when DNA-fingerprinting was the cutting-edge technique and in our group applied to analyses of parentage in studies of the ring-necked pheasant, the great reed warbler, and the sedge warbler.

Members in our group were among the first to investigate the highly polymorphic MHC genes in wild species of birds and fish and developing an ELISA assay for immunoecological studies of songbirds. Over the years, the methods we are using have closely followed the rapid development of techniques and resources in molecular biology. At present, the field, and our group, is again going through a major revolution in the wakes of the next generation sequencing (NGS) that challenges computer capacities and requires new skills in bioinformatics.

Our present studies cover a broad range of organisms including mammals, birds, insects, parasites and bacteria. Irrespective of organism, most projects typically make use of microsatellite markers, AFLP or multiple gene sequencing to identify processes of isolation, resolving phylogenetic relationships, testing host–parasite associations or identifying genes under selection. We also have a strong profile in immunoecology, for which we use the ELISA technique to measure antibody mediated immune responses.

Although many of our research questions can be solved with standard PCR and sequencing, some of the projects now make use of the new advances coming from the next generation sequencing (NGS) techniques and apply microarray analyses, Roche 454 transcriptome and amplicon sequencing or Illumina based RAD sequencing.

Recent publications

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Students at the lab

Contact information

Staffan Bensch

Telephone: +46 46-222 42 92
E-mail: Staffan [dot] Bensch [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se

Lab Address

Molecular Ecology & Evolution Lab
Dept of Biology, Lund University

Ecology Building (Sölvegatan 37)
SE-223 62 Lund, Sweden