I have three talks to give in the next month and a half, so I need to start preparing them now.
First a 20- or 25-minute one at the annual workshop of the new CIfAR Program in Integrated Microbial Diversity, held somewhere not far from here, sometime close to the end of May. The guy in the next office invited me but he's out of town so I can't recheck the details. This talk will describe what we know about how natural selection has acted on the genes that cause bacterial genetic exchange. I think I can probably do this with slides I already have prepared.
Next, a 20-minute talk at a conference titled "Sex and Recombination: In Theory and In Practice", at the University of Iowa in mid-June. This talk will begin by introducing everything that the above talk will take 20 minutes to cover, and will then go on to explain how we are using computer simulations to understand how uptake sequences can accumulate in the genomes of competent bacteria. I hope to discuss results from our Perl model; the undergraduate is adding necessary embellishments (an oxymoron). (He thought he would have them all in place by late today but he left without passing the improved model on to me, so I suspect they're not quite debugged yet.) I don't yet have any model-specific slides for the talk, nor even a good idea of what the results will be.
And a few days after that, a 15-minute talk at the big Evolution meeting at the University of Minnesota. This will be on my work with the bioinformatician, on how the accumulation of uptake sequences in bacterial genomes has affected the ability of their genes to code for well-adapted proteins. Almost all the work is done here, and we have nice figures prepared for our manuscript. Unfortunately my collaborator has just redone some of the analysis and sent me new figures I don't completely understand. And her email response time has gotten very slow (though I guess this is only fair payback for my long silence while I was swamped with teaching).
A new kind of problem
12 hours ago in RRResearch