Manon de Visser

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I am fascinated by the evolutionary mechanisms that shape the natural world, more specifically what happens when species become threatened or populations become isolated. In the process whereby species adapt to their changing environments, oddly enough nature can sometimes "fool" itself as a result of its own, evolutionary principles. As a PhD candidate I therefore work on explaining how a weird, evolutionary flaw in newts belonging to the genus Triturus, evolved. My project is a collaboration between Naturalis and the Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL).


Balanced Lethal System, Evolution, Conservation, Genetics, Genomics, Inbreeding, Evo-Devo, Embryology, Newts, Salamanders, Amphibians, Gene Expression

Manon de Visser

PhD Candidate / Guest Researcher
Understanding Evolution
+31 (0)6 48 396 715

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 ResearchGate Profile     ResearchGate   
 IBL profile page     IBL profile page

Lethal Systems

Photo of a crested newtI am a member of the Wielstra lab (ERC Starting Grant-funded research), where we study the genomics underlying the best-known case of a balanced lethal system: chromosome 1 syndrome in Triturus newts. Balanced lethal systems are considered an evolutionary failure, because natural selection is unable to get rid of the associated recessive, lethal alleles. I investigate the lethality and evolutionary origin of this system in collaboration with IBL. Are you curious to find out more? Just click here to read about balanced lethal systems!


What is it actually like to work as a PhD in the field of genomics, for both Naturalis and the University of Leiden? And what do I learn from salamanders?

Manon's DNA talks on YouTube
>> Manon's DNA talk 1

Spotlight interview (only in Dutch)
>> Dieren DNA: salamander raadsels

>> Working with supercomputers

Manon's DNA talk 1: intro



  • van Tuijl C., van Bochove K., de Visser M.C. 2019. Genetic Structure of Badger Populations in a Fragmented Landscape: How Do Barriers Affect Populations on a Genetic Level? Lutra 62: 65-76.


  • "1st prize for oral presentation" within subtheme: Global Health - Humans and Animals" at the University of Copenhagen EuroLeague of Life Sciences (ELLS) Student Conference 2017, for the MSc project "The Importance of Genomics for the Conservation Management of the Critically Endangered Pygmy Hog (Porcula salvania)".
  • "Best oral presentation" at the Benelux International Society of Applied Ethology (ISAE) meeting 2016, for the MSc project "The effect of exposure to visitors on stress in the critically endangered blue0eyed black lemur (Eulemur flavifrons) and other primate species at Apenheul Primate Park, the Netherlands."