Dr Enrique Sanchez Molano

Post Doctoral Researcher in Livestock Genomics

Current research interests

Joint effects of purifying selection, mutation and drift: As my PhD topic at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain), I studied the effects of parental contributions in conservation of endangered species both through theoretical approximations and experimental designs with D. melanogaster. The work (Conservation Genetics 2011) provided interesting results for the different maintenance strategies and being of especial relevance for the strategy of equalization of parental contributions the conflict between the undesired decrease in the action of purifying selection and the positive reduction in genetic drift. Analysis of mutational models and their relevance under natural selection: Additional colaborations with other members of the Genetics Department during my PhD period were also focused in considering deleterious alleles under a mutation-selection-drift balance. We compared two theoretical mutational models: a sensitive model (supported by Mukai´s experiments where fitness is very sensitive to mutation and most mutations have mild deleterious effects) and a tolerant model (supported by Fernández and López-Fanjul experiments where fitness is very tolerant to mutation and most mutations have very small deleterious effects). The results (Genetics 2006; Evolution 2007) supported the prevalence of the tolerant model against the sensitive model in natural and captive populations. QTL analysis in animal breeding: After my PhD, I worked for one year at the INIA in Spain, within a specific research project related to turbot (Scophthalmus maximus). The project represented the first wide QTL analysis for growth related traits in this species, and was carried out in collaboration with private and public institutions. The QTL analysis (BMC Genomics 2011) was performed under two mathematical methodologies: regression interval and maximum likelihood, and the results could lead to the identification of candidate genes that can be used in Gene Assisted Selection. Evolution of endangered populations: As a continuation of my PhD research interests in conservation, I also studied at the INIA the evolution of subdivided populations under stabilizing selection for quasi-neutral traits. A FORTRAN simulation study (Journal of Heredity 2013) measured the benefits of the use of dynamic management methods against classical approaches like the one-migrant-per-generation-and-subpopulation strategy, showing a better performance of dynamic methods for realistic moderate or weak selection intensities. Genomic selection against diseases: As a postdoctoral research associate I joined The Roslin Institute in 2012, working in the study of genomic selection against hip dysplasia in Labrador Retriever. The BBSRC funded project was based in the identification of genomic regions related with the disease and in the development of genomic breeding values that will be used to implement a plan for genomic selection in this breed. A simulation study (Journal of Animal Breeding and Genetics 2014) showed the benefit of the use of genomic selection against the disease in comparison with the current phenotypic selection scheme and given the population characteristics of this breed. A further QTL study (BMC Genomics 2014) using genome-wide association and regional heritability analyses showed a few QTLs linked to hip dysplasia or its related traits. Another study regarding genomic prediction using the QTLs found in the previous study and genome-wide markers was published in 2015 showing the strong potential of genomic selection against hip dysplasia (Frontiers in Genetics 2015). Livestock genomics: In 2014 I became a Post Doctoral Researcher in Livestock Genomics at The Roslin Institute, where I currently work with Prof. Georgios Banos in several projects related to livestock genomics. Using both simulated and real data I work in a variety of studies ranging from the use of optimum contributions in selection schemes (Frontiers in Genetics 2016), the use of genomic selection and QTL detection for different phenotypes (BMC Genetics 2016; BMC Genetics 2017), the development of simulation studies related to selection against susceptibility for bovine tuberculosis (in preparation) and the association of microRNA profiles with phenotypic traits (in preparation). Others: Through my research trajectory I have also performed research in other topics related to personality traits and genetic structure in domestic animals (Genetics 2017; BMC Genomics 2017), maintaining strong collaborations with different research groups both within and outside UK.

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