Fernando Ayllon

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Telefon: 97619648
Avdeling: Reproduksjon og utviklingsbiologi 2390

Curriculum Vitae

Earlier in my career, I focused on how individual variation gets ramped up to population dynamics and to evolutionary processes. Does individual variation matter or does it get averaged out once it gets scaled up to population levels or to evolutionary timescales? What is the relationship between variation and adaptation? The role of selection in the reproductive isolation of natural populations has been widely debated and some studies suggest that this evolutionary force can produce the kind of isolation that separates species in the wild. Most of my research activity was focused on the evolution in natural populations of salmonids and the exploration of the evolutionary and genetic processes that shape population structure and speciation of the Salmo genus. Generated knowledge greatly impacted broodstock management at the species southern limit distribution range.

Modern Population Genetics connected me experimentally to Molecular Genetics allowing me to investigate polymorphisms distribution at a molecular level. With the last advances in Genomics my present research interest has directed towards understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying the maintenance and adaptive value of polymorphisms and its applications to the farming industry. My work at the University of Turku (Finland) focused on whole genome methylation patterns in sex chromosomes. The understanding on epigenetic processes that modulate gen dose and sex-specific gene expression will benefit further research lines involving triploid production or sterility genes in salmon. Later on, my work at The Institute of Marine Research - IMR (Norway) unravelled the genetic basis behind age at maturity in Atlantic salmon, generating the basis for several follow-up projects in my current research group. Likewise, the developed and implemented bioinformatic and statistical tools have set a standard for the group’s future publications. I also anticipate that these findings will impact the salmon farming industry by reducing the losses generated by early puberty in salmon.

Stepping up in the functional implications of the genetic variability, I am also involved in the implementation of state of the art gene editing technologies in order to elucidate the function of relevant genes. We are currently using CRISPR-Cas9 technology to induce genetic modifications through homology-directed repair in salmon embryos. This will improve the frequency of precise gene modifications and extent our knowledge in the function of genes related to aquaculture relevant traits. Other relevant projects I take part on include the production of Atlantic salmon double haploid males and the genetics basis of carotenoids metabolism that will ultimately benefit fish farming industry.

I gather a strong background in modern Genetics coming from almost twenty years experience in the fields of Cell Biology, Molecular Genetics, Genomics, Heavy-duty Bioinformatics as well as RNA and Gene expression studies. All my research has been published in peer reviewed international journals within the first quartile of multidisciplinary fields. I also have a proven expertise in multidisciplinary international projects as well as in continued collaboration with a wide variety of international researchers. Since I arrive to IMR, my multidisciplinary background, international profile and communication skills have served as pivot for collaboration not only with other scientists from my research group, but also with different groups and institutions.
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