Title: "Toward the genetic basis of adaptation using arrays"
Speaker: Justin Borevitz, Department of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago
Place: Mechanical Engineering (ME) 161; Tuesday, 4:30pm


I am interested in the quantitative and population genetics of Arabidopsis thaliana related to adaptation in natural light environments. We have revealed extensive genetic variation in world wide collections (Nature Genetics 2001) for seedling elongation under unique light environments and determined quantitative trait loci (QTL) responsible for this variation (Genetics 2002,2004). The next questions are what are the genes underlying these QTL and what are the functional allelic differences? How have the patterns of variation at these loci been shaped by natural selection? Can we find evidence for local adaptation and determine the ecological environmental differences driving selection? To get to the genes we have developed genomics methods to enable comprehensive studies of natural variation. Tools such as whole genome oligo-nucleotide tiling arrays are being used for very high resolution studies of singe features polymorphisms (SFPs)(Genome Research, 2003 Genetics 2004, PNAS 2005), mapping and haplotype analysis. These arrays which interrogate nearly every base of the A. thaliana genome, can reveal natural variation in gene expression and alternative splicing to identify candidate genes for QTL and their downstream responses. We are extending this work beyond the traditional genetic model system of Arabidopsis thaliana to and ecological model genus Aquilegia (columbines) and to barley. Details of SFP identification and their use in mapping and haplotype prediction will be presented as well as future uses extending from this technology.

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