Lund University, Faculty of Science, Department of Biology

Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and 7 400 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Faculty of Science conducts research and education within Biology, Astronomy, Physics, Geosciences, Chemistry, Mathematics and Environmental Sciences. The Faculty is organized into nine departments, gathered in the northern campus area. The Faculty has approximately 1500 students, 330 PhD students and 700 employees.

Project description

The origin and evolution of sexual reproduction and sex differences represents one of the major unsolved problems in evolutionary biology. Although much progress had been made both via theory and empirical research on the inevitable degeneration of heteromorphic sex chromosomes and consequent sex chromosome turnover, many issues remain unresolved, and recent data suggest that sex chromosome evolution may be more complex than previously thought. The aim of this project will be to investigate the genetics of sex differences using experimentally evolved populations of the hermaphroditic flatworm Macrostomum ligano that have been selected for male or female fitness.

We have now established that female- selected populations have increased in female fitness and decreased in male fitness compared to male- selected populations, indicative of sexual antagonism and/or a genetically based trade- off in these traits. The project will therefore attempt to determine the genomic basis of the response to sex- limited selection seen in our previously developed experimental evolution lines of M. ligano. Genome- wide gene expression will be measured using pooled paired- end RNAseq, both on whole organisms and of selected organs. Candidate genes will be obtained from analysis of expression data of putative gonadal genes, and from analysis of SNPs and splicing variants detected in RNA data. Changes in gene frequency will be measured using pooled next- generation DNA sequencing (e.g. Illumnia) and candidate loci detected via Fst outlier analysis. Candidate loci and expression phenotypes will then be validated in the ancestral stock population, using hemiclonal analysis where hemiclones will be generated by crossing previously- developed inbred lines with the ancestral population. Additional possible methods include Genome- wide complex trait analysis (GCTA), which estimates the variance explained by all the SNPs in the genome for a complex trait, or a genome- wide association study (GWAS) of sequenced genotypes ( of individuals, hemiclones, or inbred lines), where the degree of overlap between loci identified by GWAS with candidate loci can be analysed. Finally, possible changes in the genetic correlation between male and female fitness in the selected lines will be analyzed using a quantitative genetic approach.



  • Master’s in bioinformatics, molecular biology, genetics or evolutionary biology.
  • Other experience with (in order of priority): bioinformatics, molecular biology, genetics or evolutionary biology.
  • Lab experience with invertebrates.
  • Interest in sex chromosome evolution.
  • Good written and verbal skills in English.
  • Ability to work well independently and in a group.


  • Experience with DNA and RNA extraction.
  • Experience with analysis of genomic data, including GWAS and Fst analysis.
  • Experience with quantitative genetics.
  • Experience with experimental design and/or experimental evolution.

Students with basic eligibility for third-cycle studies are those who- have completed a second-cycle degree- have completed courses of at least 240 credits, of which at least 60 credits are from second-cycle courses, or- have acquired largely equivalent knowledge in some other way, in Sweden or abroad.

The employment of doctoral students is regulated in the Swedish Code of Statues 1998: 80. Only those who are or have been admitted to PhD-studies may be appointed to doctoral studentships. When an appointment to a doctoral studentship is made, the ability of the student to benefit from PhD-studies shall primarily be taken into account. In addition to devoting themselves to their studies, those appointed to doctoral studentships may be required to work with educational tasks, research and administration, in accordance with specific regulations in the ordinance.

Type of employment
Limit of tenure, four years according to HF 5 kap 7§.

Instruction for application

The application should include CV detailing relevant experience, a personal statement explaining why you are a good fit for this project, copy of master’s thesis and/or any relevant published papers, and names and contact information of two reference persons.

Type of employment Temporary position longer than 6 months
Salary Monthly salary
Number of positions 1
Working hours 100 %
City Lund
County Skåne län
Country Sweden
Reference number PA2017/1265
  • Jessica Abbott, Universitetslektor, 046- 222 93 04,
Union representative
  • OFR/ST:Fackförbundet ST:s kansli, 046-222 93 62,
  • SACO:Saco-s-rådet vid Lunds universitet, 046-222 93 64,
  • SEKO: Seko Civil, 046-222 93 66,
Published 20.Apr.2017
Last application date 18.May.2017 11:59 PM CET

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