Contacts Centre for Environmental Biology



CBA research group(s):

Experimental Evolution

Personal webpage

Team webpage

Rita Ponce

Main Research Interests

My main research interest is Genome Evolution, in particular the evolution of fast evolving genes, such as genes involved in reproduction and in host-parasite interaction.
Currently I work on two types of fast evolving traits and genes: 1) Reproductive interactions between Tetranychus urticae and T. evansi and their possible effect on the coexistence between these species; 2) Origin, variability and dynamics of toxin-antitoxin loci, bacterial genes that are involved in the interactions between bacteria and plasmids, using genomic analysis.


Academic Qualifications

- 2007 PhD in Biology (University of Lisbon/Harvard University)

- 1998 M.Sc. in Developmental Biology (Universidade Lus├│fona de Humanidades e Tecnologia/University of Rochester, NY)

- 1996 5-year college graduation in Biology -Genetics and Microbiology (Faculty of Science, University of Lisbon)


Recent Publications

Ponce R., Martinsen L., Vicente L. & Hartl D.L. 2012. Novel Genes from Formation to Function. International Journal of Evolutionary Biology vol. 2012: ID 821645, 9 pages.

Ponce R. 2009. The recent origin of the Sdic gene cluster in the melanogaster subgroup. Genetica 135:415- 418.

Ponce R. 2007. The use of a non-LTR element to date the formation of the Sdic gene cluster. Genetica 131:315-324.

Ponce R.& Hartl. D.L. 2006. The Evolution of the Novel Sdic Gene Cluster in Drosophila melanogaster. Gene 376:174-183.

Kulathinal R.J., Sawyer S.A., Bustamante C.D., Nurminsky D.I., Ponce R., Ranz J.M. & Hartl D.L. 2004. Selective sweep in the evolution of a new sperm-specific gene in Drosophila. In Selective Sweep, Medical Biology Intelligence Unit. D. I. Nurminsky (Ed).  Landes Bioscience, Georgetown, Texas.

Ranz J.M., Ponce R., Hartl D.L. & Nurmisnky D. 2003. Origin and Evolution of a New Gene Expressed in the Drosophila Sperm Axoneme. Genetica 118:233-244.


Ongoing Projects

  • The origin and maintenance of toxin-antitoxin loci in bacterial genomes: consequences to quorum sensing and bacterial programmed cell death (SFRH/BPD/42801/2008).


Other Information

International collaborations: Daniel Hartl (Harvard University, USA), Eduardo Rocha (Institute Pasteur, Paris), Lene Martinsen (Harvard University, USA).