Associate Professor Suzanne McGaugh

CBS Ecology, Evolution & Behav
College of Biological Sciences
Twin Cities
Project Title: 
Molecular and Convergent Evolution of Vertebrates

This lab has several ongoing projects:

  • Large-scale population genomics effort using Illumina resequencing in the Astyanax cavefish shotgun genomes: Cavefish have distinct phenotypes from surface conspecifics and are emerging models for research on obesity, retinal degeneration, and sleep disorders. These researchers are assaying for convergent and divergent evolutionary signatures across two separate evolutionary origins of the cavefish and examining candidate genes. They have found some promising results, and have recently added many new genomes, including 10X genomics sequences. The group will continue analyzing these data over the next one-two years. In particular, they are analyzing premature termination codon variants found via population genomic analyses with CRISPR as well as the population genomics of specific hybrid populations and convergent evolution. The group has an NSF EDGE award in collaboration with other researchers to utilize the information in their genomic data to create transgenic animals.
  • Examination of genetic link between sleep and feeding in cavefish: The researchers process RNA-seq data and GBS linkage maps. Another project requires similar analyses to map sleep under starved and fed conditions in adults.
  • Investigation of how pathways evolved in vertebrates: The researchers have published an analysis of the how P53 pathway, a major cancer and cell cycle regulator, has evolved in amniotes. They have recently had a paper accepted on the evolution of snake venom resistance across mammals, and are finalizing work on the evolution of gene loss across vertebrates.
  • Deep-time analyses of cavefish genomes across teleosts: The group is creating alignments of coding regions across these newly sequenced species and over the course of the next year will be analyzing these data for signatures of convergent evolution.

This research was featured on the MSI website in:

Project Investigators

Alexandra Donny
Danielle Drabeck
Melissa Drown
Maya Enriquez
Adjunct Prof Lex Flagel
Marco Antonio Garduno Sanchez
Joshua Gross
Thomas Kono
Associate Professor Suzanne McGaugh
Rachel Moran
Jin Oong
Blair Perry
Mr. Thomas Radomski
Emilie Richards
Emma Roback
Jonathan Wiese
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