26 Feb Gene copy number variation in adaptive radiations
We are studying gene copy number variation (CNV) in adaptive radiations of cichlids. A fundamental question in biology is what type of genomic changes underlie local adaptation and species radiations. Cichlid fish radiations in the African Great Lakes show extraordinary levels of speciation and ecological diversification compared to their close riverine relatives. Despite a large research effort, the functional genetic variation underlying this ecological diversity is still unclear.
In collaboration with Suzy Renn at Reed College, and Domino Joyce at Hull, we are investigating the contribution of gene duplication – an important factor underlying the generation of gene function novelty – to these cichlid radiations. This is part of a larger research program into the evolutionary forces and processes shaping genomic novelty.