Group: Jean-Claude Walser
University of Basel
Evolutionary Biology
Vesalgasse 1
CH-4051 Basel
Switzerland
Office 01.0
Phone +41(0)61 207 0365
Fax +41(0)61 207 0362
Email jean-claude.walser-at-unibas.ch

ETH Zürich
Genetic Diversity Centre (GDC)
Universitätstrasse 16
CH-8092 Zürich
Switzerland
Office CHN E 55
Phone +41(0)44 632 6685
Email jean-claude.walser-at-env.ethz.ch


As a former group leader at the Zoolgical Institute I am still involved in variuos ongoing projects. I also have teaching assignments for the institute in bioinformatics, population genetics, and genome evolution. I am currently working for the Genetic Diversity Centre at the ETH in Zurich counseling research goups with data anlysis. My own research interest is focusing on genome evolution and factors that influence genome stability.

Earwig transcriptome project
in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Mathias Koelliker and Dr. Anne Roulin

We work on the first draft transcriptome of the European earwig (Forficula auricularia). The aim of the project is to provide sequence and expression data for a hemimetabolous insect, and thereby generate an invaluable resource for further research on the genetics and evolution of these organisms. This project is a start-up financing for an interdisciplinary long-term collaboration that will create synergies between behavioral ecology, evolutionary biology, and genome organization. The project is of immediate interest not only from the scientific perspective of genome evolution, but also from an applied perspective, because F. auricularia is of growing importance in agriculture for biological pest control.

> Roulin et al. (2014) De Novo Transcriptome Hybrid Assembly and Validation in the European Earwig (Dermaptera, Forficula auricularia)

Sociogenomics of parent-offspring coadaptation
in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Mathias Koelliker, Dr. Barbara Taborsky (University of Bern), and Min Wu (University of Basel)
Earwig females care for their offspring by protecting them against predation and provisioning food. The offspring do not fully depend on maternal care, but they benefit from care in terms of survival. Earwig families aggregate, offspring compete and cannibalize nestmates whereby they discriminate related from unrelated competitors, and they influence maternal behaviour and investment through condition-dependent chemical signals secreted on their cuticle. The main goal of this project is to analyse gene expression patterns of candidate genes that may be involved cooperative and competitive behaviours of earwig females and their offspring.
Pasteuria genome project
in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Dieter Ebert and Dr. Loïc Ponger (Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, France)
Bacteria of the genus Pasteuria are gram positive endo-parasites of nematodes and lower crustaceans. They are endospore formers. Endospores can remain dormant for decades. Pasteuria ramosa is a pathogen of Cladocerans, mainly genus Daphnia, a group of planktonic freshwater crustacean. P. ramosa infects the hemolymph of Daphnia and castrates it. P. ramosa became a popular model organism to study the evolution of virulence and host-parasite coevolution. Closely related species of the genus Pasteuria infect soil pathogenic nematodes and are candidates for biocontrol of nematodes.
Mutation rate - Genetic diversity
in collaboration with Dr. Anthony V. Furano (NIDDK, NIH)
Development, survival, and reproduction of an organism depend on the genetic information that is passed on. The transmission of information, however, is not perfectly accurate and new mutation occur in each generation. The analysis of variation in mutation rate across genomes can shed light on the relative contribution of factors that affect mutation rate. A better understanding of these factors is crucial in order to understand evolutionary processes. This project is taking advantage of the facts that (i) most genomes are littered with «fossilized» interspersed repeated sequences (e.g. transposable elements) which are not under selection and that (ii) related species share the same insertion in the genome. The time factor can be obtained by reconstructing the life-history of the various insertions. Together we have a new approach to look at mutation rate. In one of our studies in primates we found a link between mismatch repair and mutation rate.