I am a computational evolutionary biologist broadly interested in combining field and molecular methods to explore the link between genotype, phenotype, and fitness. Please see CV for more details.My research includes (Detailed info to come):
Analysis of the effects of mating system on selection on MHC genes.
Patterns of selection on MHC genes in the genus Peromyscus
Characterization of vaginal bacterial flora in rodents with different mating systems
- Using genomics to better understand functional anuria in desert rodents.
- Social genomics of tuco tucos (Ctenomys sociabilis)
- Investigating the genomics of the ‘winner effect’ in spiders (D. Elias, M. Kasumovic)
- Tuco tuco genome project (with Broad Institute)
- Historical demographics in tuco-tuco (E. Lacey, L. Hadley)
- Happy face spider (Theridion grallator) genome project (R. Gillespie, P. Croucher)
- Poison Dart Frog (Oophaga pumilio) genome project (C. Richards-Zawacki, M. Eisen, R. Nielsen)
- SNP genotyping in the sage-sparrow (R. Bowie, C. Cicero)
- Speciation in the western flycatcher (R. Bowie, A. Rush)
- Construction of a multilocus Peromyscus phylogeny (inactive)
- Phylogeography of P. eremicus and P. fraterculus in southern California (inactive)
- Illumina sequencing from 100 year-old museum skins
- The development of a quantatative measure of mating systems
- This component of my dissertation aimed to fundamentally change the way in which we study mating systems. Specifically, secondary to the widespread use of molecular parentage analysis, we now understand that mating systems are better treated as continuous variables, rather than as discrete entities (i.e. monogamy, polygyny, etc.). This chapter outlines the approach, illustrating how its adoption may lead to novel insight.
- Using population level data collected from a single locality, this chapter shows that natural selection on MHC genes is not enhanced in a promiscuous mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) relative to its monogamous congener, P. californicus. This result supports the MHC-disassortative mate choice hypothesis.
- This component of my dissertation hoped to test the generality of the finding in chapter 2 using genus-level consisting of MHC sequences from 22 Peromyscus species, including another, independent, origin of monogamy. Here, using lineage-specific tests of positive selection, I showed that selection on MHC genes was enhanced in both monogamous species. This was taken for strong evidence for the MHC-disassortative mate choice hypothesis.
- This chapter attempted to related differences in mating system to differences in vaginal bacterial flora. Here, I sampled the vaginal flora of wild caught mice, and assayed bacterial flora using molecular methods. In brief, enhanced bacterial diversity was encountered in the promiscuous mouse P. maniculatus, likely secondary to an increased number of sexual partners as compared to the monogamous P. californicus.