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Integrative approach to study the role of the melanocortin system in barn owl

Author Valérie DUCRET
Director of thesis Pr. Alexandre Roulin
Co-director of thesis
Summary of thesis

I am interested to describe and resolve the genetic basis of the melanocortin system because of its implication in the expression of many phenotypic traits that influence individual life history and population dynamics. Roulin’s group recently proposed the hypothesis that some melanocortin-physiological and –behavioural traits are correlated within individuals. Moreover, studies have shown that covariations between melanin-based coloration and other phenotypes are due to the melanocortin system. Thereby, the most important part of my work will be to perform genetic studies using samples of free-living barn owls in order to demonstrate this hypothesis.


Firstly, I will look for polymorphism in the coding sequence of melanocortin system genes. Secondly I will measure their expression levels. All part of this work will be done regarding to environmental factors and other individual traits like circadian rhythm.

Status beginning
Administrative delay for the defence