Dr. Stuart Mcdaniel's Lab Case Study

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For this assignment, I chose to interview Dr. Stuart McDaniel, an assistant professor at the University of Florida. Since Dr. McDaniel was a child, he loved the outdoors and was always interested in backpacking. He had a specific interest for maps and the distribution of plants. Plants on mountain tops never ceased to amaze him. He received is Bachelors of Science in biology from Oberlin College. In 1994, he moved to Paraguay as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Agroforestry department. After that, he embarked his journey with moss biodiversity at the New York State Museum. Subsequently, he received his doctorate from Duke University with Jon Shaw, a professor of biology at Duke University. After that, he finished a NIH-NRSA postdoc fellowship …show more content…
What forces maintain variation within populations?
3. Do similar forces promote divergence among populations?
4. Why do sex chromosomes have peculiar passing down traits?
Research in Dr. McDaniel’s lab aims to answer these questions by using classical genetic and genome analyses of the moss model system, Ceratodon purpureus. They also use Physcomitrella patens, a spreading earth moss, as a model for gene function analysis. These questions pose to look at what the genetic basis of dissociation between mosses and their microbes is. His lab is currently focused on two projects: the evolutionary causes and consequences of dioecy and the community genomics of moss-associated nitrogen fixation in a changing Arctic. These questions are important because the maintenance of separate sexes (dioecy) is, as said by Dr. McDaniel, “an enduring evolutionary puzzle.” These questions and research projects are the stepping stones to answering questions about our own evolutionary processes and how we can manipulate data learned to benefit the greater
…show more content…
About half of moss species have separate sexes. Dioecy has evolved several times in mosses. These biased transitions result from the benefits of sexual dimorphism rather than as a means to evade inbreeding. This situation makes mosses a well-replicated natural experiment for researching the genomic, genetic, macro evolutionary consequences of having two separate sexes. This process is being expanded to all flagellate plants. The most common result of dioecy is the non-recombining sex chromosomes. The haploid moss sex chromosomes are different to the commonly studied ZW and XY systems (McDaniel, Atwoord, & Burleight, 2012). This allows Dr. McDaniel’s lab to pick of the effects of suppressed recombination and sex-linked inheritance on sex chromosome evolution. Dioecy also promotes sexual antagonism, for which genes have different fitness consequences in females and males. The McDaniel Lab seeks to understand the forces generating sexual dimorphism in metabolite production in Ceratodon

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