WHY IS SNAKE VENOM COMPOSITION SO VARIABLE?

with Wolfgang Wüster (Bangor University, UK) | January 8, 2018 – 16h00 | CIBIO-InBIO’s Auditorium, Campus de Vairão

CASUAL SEMINAR IN BIODIVERSITY AND EVOLUTION

 

 

Snake venoms are complex cocktails of bioactive proteins (toxins) that snakes use to overpower and kill their prey, as well as in self-defence. This complexity allows for extreme variation in composition, and this is widespread at all taxonomic levels, even within species. This variation can greatly complicate the treatment of snakebite through varying symptoms of envenoming and problems of antivenom efficacy. What causes these differences in venom composition? What genetic mechanisms underlie them? This talk will summarise recent work on the selection pressures that appear to be driving venom evolution and the diversity of genetic mechanisms that respond to these pressures.

 

Wolfgang Wüster is a Senior Lecturer at Bangor University, in Bangor, North Wales, UK. His research interests focus on the integration of venom evolution and natural history in snakes, as well as snake systematics and biogeography, and he combines field and museum work and molecular genetic approaches to pursue research questions in these areas.

 

[Host: José Carlos Brito, Biodiversity of Deserts and Arid Regions]