The guest speaker at the next meeting of the Wolfson College Science Society will be Professor Sir David Baulcombe, of the University's Department of Plant Sciences and winner of the 2008 Lasker Foundation Basic Medical Research Award. He will consider "How nurture might influence nature - lessons from plants" at 6.00pm in the OCR on Friday 11 November. All welcome!
Abstract: The conventional paradigm is that the properties of an organism are determined by its DNA sequence. Organisms with identical DNA will be identical and those with different DNA will grow differently or they will not respond in the same way to external stimuli. However there is also evidence for another layer to heritability in which changes are not associated with alteration of DNA sequence - they are "epigenetic" rather than genetic. I will describe epigenetics in plants and how recent progress is affecting our understanding of the biology and evolution of both plants and animals.