RSB Director's Seminar: Sexual Reproduction, Female Fertility and Effective Population Number in Fusarium Populations

Presented by ANU College of Health & Medicine

Sexual reproduction is a key component of species life cycles. Sexual reproduction in fungi is subject to a number of different variations, and is different from that in many organisms since sexual role (male or female) may be distinct from or confounded with mating type.  The dual functional roles of asexual propagules, i.e., as spermidia in a sexual cross or to establish physiological distinct colonies, enables non-conventional reproductive strategies, especially when asexual reproduction is preferred to sexual reproduction.

Prof John Leslie will will explore the theoretical implications of such reproductive strategies and discuss some Fusarium populations where relevant variables have been measured/estimated and how observed variations in population structure may provide insights into the origins, establishment and current reproductive strategies in some of these fungi.

John Leslie received a Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of Wisconsin (Madison), postdoced with David Perkins at Stanford University, and worked for three years in private industry before joining the faculty of Kansas State University in 1984.  Since then he has authored more than 150 refereed journal articles, 25 book chapters and seven books.  His research focuses on genetics of fungi in the genus Fusarium, with an emphasis on their population genetics.  In 2002, Prof. Leslie was a Fulbright Scholar in Australia at the University of Sydney and the Royal Botanic Gardens - Sydney with Lester Burgess and Brett Summerell as his hosts. Since then he has been a member, for four years each, of senior Fulbright Review panels for Americans coming to Australia and New Zealand and for Australians going to the United States. He served for nine years as Head of the K-State Plant Pathology department, and was Head when the Department was ranked as the top Plant Pathology Department in the United States in 2013.  He stepped down as Head in 2015 to serve as the Interim Director of the USAID sponsored Feed the Future Laboratory for the Reduction of Post-Harvest Losses, and recently returned to the faculty when a permanent Director for the Lab was hired.  Prof. Leslie is a Fellow of St. Paul's College of the University of Sydney, the American Phytopathological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and an Honorary Member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.