- University of Michigan
1061 Kraus Natural Science Building
830 North University
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1048
- Phone: (734) 647-5483
- Fax: (734) 763-0544
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fields of study
Evolutionary genetics and genomics
Understanding the evolution of phenotypic diversity includes identifying the processes that drive change (such as mutation, selection, and drift) as well as the variation that those processes act on (at molecular, genetic, and organismal levels). The Wittkopp lab uses body-pigmentation differences within and between two closely related species, Drosophila americana and D. novamexicana, as a model for studying the evolutionary processes and the genetic and molecular variation that contribute to phenotypic diversification.
I am taking genetic and genomic approaches to examine the molecular underpinnings and adaptive significance of pigment evolution in D. americana and D. novamexicana. My focus is on the tan gene, which has been identified as a major component of interspecific body color differences, and may also contribute to variation within D. americana. I plan to use a series of transgenic constructs, composed of different segments of "dark" and "light" alleles of tan, to narrow down the causal region of tan, ideally to the nucleotide level. Once functional molecular variants have been identified, I hope to examine their geographic distribution in natural populations of D. americana. I will compare allele frequency distributions at tan to those of other loci across the genome, in order to identify patterns indicative of natural selection.
Ph.D., Duke University, 2008
- Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
- College of Literature, Science, and the Arts