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Paolo Sordino

Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn
Villa Comunale
Naples, Italy 80121

(081) 583-3283

Taxa Studied: Invertebrate Animals
Techniques Employed: Degenerate PCR, Quantitative PCR (qPCR), Microarrays, In Situ Hybridization, Antibody Staining, Sectioning for Histology, Scanning Electron Microscopy, Confocal Microscopy, Time-Lapse Microscopy, Transgenesis, Mutagenesis, RNA interference(RNAi), Morpholinos
Research Description: Herein, we are conducting a parallel study of ecology, population genetics and naturally occurring mutants of the ascidian, Ciona intestinalis sp. A, with the goal of shedding light on the microevolutionary mechanisms and factors that influence variation of phenotypic traits within and among natural populations of a marine invertebrate chordate. In particular, we aim to understand the molecular identity of specific mutations underlying evolutionary shifts, the performance of mutants in natural environments, e.g. fitness of mutant sensory organs compared with the wild type, and how the rules of population genetics allow the persistence of identified genes under conditions of natural selection, and their repeated fixation. Assessing the dynamics and timescales of phenotypic and genetic polymorphism in different environments requires the study of the dynamics of natural populations through extensive field work. The identification of genes involved in specific mutations would allow to assess if their population genetic patterns parallels the one observed with neutral markers and to identify their fate in populations over time and space. As future perspective we are considering the possibility to apply a genome scan approach using gene-linked polymorphic markers in order to identify genes under selection to be related to both the presence of mutants and the population genetic patterns observed.
Lab Web Page: http://www.szn.it
Willing to Host Undergraduates: YES
Actively Seeking Undergraduates: NO
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