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Florian Schwarz

Florian Schwarz, MSc.

After I received my bachelor’s degree in 2015 I continued my studies at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) in my hometown Munich with the master program ‘Evolution, Ecology and Systematics’. There, I focused on studies of evolutionary biology and population genetics and their applications in bioinformatics. During my master's thesis I got familiar with the effect of meiotic drive, a process that can lead to a conflict of selection on different levels (‘selfish’ chromosome vs the host organism carrying it), which further deepened my pre-existing interest about the various evolutionary forces shaping DNA and their impact on the respective organism.

For my PhD I will work on the evolution of Transposable Element (TE) activity in Drosophila. TEs can be grouped in different classes and are repetitive parts of the genome able to ‘selfishly reproduce’ (transpose) and reinsert themselves at different positions, independent from the ‘functional’ genome. These elements can have all kinds of evolutionary implications on their host genome, including adaptive advantages as well as deleterious effects, ranging between e.g. only slightly raised metabolic costs to induction of sterility for offspring in certain crosses (hybrid dysgenesis).

I will first contribute to establish a reliable lab protocol for the extraction and the sequencing of long-read DNA sequence data with the MinION sequencing technology. Afterwards, I will
establish a bioinformatic pipeline to identify and categorize the different classes and families of Transposons. Ultimately, by applying this method to certain strains of Drosophila melanogaster, I hope to obtain datasets and analysis tools with which I can contribute to unravel more details about TE evolution and TE-induced evolutionary phenomena like hybrid dysgenesis.