Department of Biological Sciences (Conference/Workshop/Seminar)
Integrative Genomics candidate, Sarah A. Signor, PhD, Postdoctoral Research, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, will present a seminar entitled, "Mapping the Phenotype to the Genotype: Convergent Evolution, Complex Phenotypes, and Environment".
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Understanding the genetic basis of adaptive evolution, and the connection between the genotype and the phenotype, is one of the primary challenges of modern evolutionary biology. For example, did a trait evolve due to changes in the sequence of a gene that codes for a protein, or changes in the regulation of its expression? Understanding generalities about evolution is complicated by the fact that each evolutionary transition is an independent experiment. Convergent evolution can solve this problem by providing natural replication that can be exploited to understand how traits evolve in general. In the first part of my talk I will describe research in which I mapped the genetic basis of sexually dimorphic pigmentation in four pairs of Drosophila, and found strong evidence for repeated recruitment of the same genes to specify similar pigmentation in different species. In the second part of my talk, I will describe my work on understanding how evolution proceeds at the genetic level in complex and environment dependent traits. I focus on ethanol adaptation in two species of Drosophila with contrasting ecological histories with ethanol, and ask how adaptive environmental interactions evolve. Future research will address the generality of these findings by combining historical population comparisons with convergent evolution and investigations into the genomic and epigenetic mechanisms underlying environmental interactions. This is the thrust of my research program – using cases of convergent evolution of complex, environmentally dependent traits and cutting-edge molecular approaches to understand how adaptation occurs within the genome. More information...
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Department of Biological Sciences
Wendy J. Leach firstname.lastname@example.org
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