Emily Beck and Colleen Campbell to present on 21 Feb 2013

Emily Beck’s research abstract

Genome-wide assessment of introgression and hybrid sterility factors in Drosophila yakuba and D. santomea

Introgression, also called introgressive hybridization, is the exchange of genetic information between different species through natural hybridization.  These events occur when reproductive isolation is not complete, and can lead to the production of hybrids which are often sterile or inviable; this is referred to as hybrid dysfunction.  More recently, there is evidence that introgression can lead to the acquisition of new adaptations, called adaptive introgression.  Novelty also arises when unique genetic combinations, resulting from the acquisition of genetic material from another species, produce new phenotypes and serve as sources for novel adaptations.  Hybrid zones, areas where two distinct species meet and hybridize, provide biologists with “natural experiments” and thus constitute ideal settings to study introgression.  Sadly, occurrences of these natural hybrid zones in genetically amenable biological systems, such as Drosophila, are very infrequent.  In 2000, however, a new unique hybrid zone formed by two species in the melanogaster subgroup, Drosophila yakuba and D. santomea, was discovered in a small African island of the Gulf of Guinea.  Previous studies in our lab showed that the mitochondrial genome of the former species had introgressed into the latter and replaced completely the native form.  Additionally, a series of nuclear proteins, which act intimately with the mitochondrial genome, co-introgressed with the mitochondrial genome.  Utilizing Next Generation sequencing technology, we aim to create genome-wide maps identifying alternate regions of introgression based on DNA from single flies.

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Posted on February 18, 2013, in Student Seminar. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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