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Lab ImageMike Shapiro

Universitiy of Utah
257 South 1400 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84108

(801) 581-5690

Taxa Studied: Vertebrate Animals
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Sanger Sequencing, Solexa (Illumina) Sequencing, Bioinformatics/Sequence Analysis, QTL Mapping, SNP Mapping, In Situ Hybridization, Sectioning for Histology, Transgenesis
Research Description: Despite longstanding interest in how animals acquire novel morphological and physiological characteristics, we know remarkably little about the number, location, and types of mutations that control evolutionary phenotypic change. We are using genetic studies in natural populations to illuminate the molecular basis of evolutionary change in the ninespine stickleback fish (Pungitius pungitius), a species with an extraordinary range of morphological, physiological, and behavioral diversity. In parallel to our ongoing stickleback work, we have initiated new molecular genetic studies in a classic model organism, the domesticated pigeon. We are using the pigeon as a model for evolutionary diversity among birds, and we are taking advantage of the enormous variation within this single species to dissect the genetic architecture of constructive (as opposed to regressive), ecologically relevant, morphological traits. This project is an ideal candidate for an EDEN RCN lab exchange, as we will rely heavily on techniques developed for other model organisms ?? especially well-developed avian systems such as the chicken ?? to accelerate our research.
Lab Web Page: http://www.biology.utah.edu/shapiro
Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: YES
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