The nominating institute Geomar on the breakthrough:

The independent evolution of pregnancy in most vertebrate groups required drastic morphological and genomic reorganisation. Roth’s project focuses on adaptation in male pregnancy evolution in pipefishes and seahorses, evolving on a gradient from external fertilisation to full pregnancy. Only this genus allows the role of egg production and pregnancy to be disentangled. Experiments, comparative genomics and genetic engineering will elucidate the basis of trait loss and gain required for male pregnancy.

Olivia Roth

GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel

I was born in Switzerland and studied at the University of Basel. After my Master I did my PhD at the ETH Zurich and the University of Münster. With a postdoc grant from the Volkswagen Stiftung (VW) I started working at GEOMAR, where I established my own model system, pipefish and seahoreses. Now I hold a permanent Group Leader Position at GEOMAR. The research of my group is currently supported by an ERC Starting Grants and grants from the DFG to work on the coevolution of male pregnancy and the immune system.

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