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Manchester Institute
of Biotechnology

Discovery through innovation

Dr Reinmar Hager

Research Interests

Research

 
The genetic and epigenetic basis of quantitative traits involved in family conflicts and coadaptation
The genetic and epigenetic basis of quantitative traits involved in family conflicts and coadaptation

The genetic and epigenetic basis of quantitative traits involved in family conflicts and coadaptation

Here, we investigate the genetic and epigenetic basis of quantitative traits involved in family conflicts and coadaptation. Conceptually, the main focus of this research is on traits involved in interactions between family members and their underlying genetic and epigenetic basis. Interactions between family members are characterized by conflict over resource allocation (i.e. parent-offspring, sexual and sibling conflict) and synergistic or negative coadaptation between fitness-related traits. Previous empirical research has uncovered evidence for antagonistic coevolution between distinct life history traits in male and female mice as well as coadaptation between maternal provisioning and offspring maternal genotype. Using recombinant inbred mouse panels (BXD) we are currently investigating the genetic architecture of a number of different complex traits such as growth, maternal provisioning and behavioural phenotypes. Furthermore, we conduct research into the genetics of parent-offspring conflict and coadaptation between offspring and maternal traits to test assumptions and predictions of conflict resolution and coadaptation models.

Quantitative trait loci analysis of epigenetic effects on complex traits

The focus of this project with Jason Wolf and James Cheverud is on the role of genomic imprinting and maternal effects in complex trait variation. One aim is to develop and apply statistical tools to identify quantitative trait loci (QTL) across the genome for traits of interest and to assess the relative importance of genetic versus epigenetic effects for phenotypic variation in an intercross of Large and Small inbred mice.

Reproductive skew in animal societies
Reproductive skew in animal societies

Reproductive skew in animal societies

Reproductive skew theory investigates how reproduction is partitioned between group members and under what conditions stable groups can be predicted. The key objective lies in understanding how reproductive skew theory can be used as a framework to interpret the evolution of animal sociality. To this end I have recently edited a book with Clara B. Jones on this topic for Cambridge University Press. Currently, we are exploring how a quantitative genetics approach using agent based modelling can shed light on ultimate and proximate causes of skew.

The genetic basis of sociality

This project seeks to establish novel phenotyping protocols that allow the quantification of social behaviour for genetic analyses. A number of human disease phenotypes such as Williams Syndrome a