Discipline: Biological Sciences
Subcategory: Plant Research
Mary Swadener - University of Washington
Co-Author(s): Jesús Martínez-Gómez and Verónica Di Stilio, University of Washington, Seattle, WA
Polyploidy, also known as Whole Genome Duplication (WGD), is responsible for a broad array of plant diversification. Diversity may arise as modified allele function, ultimately leading to speciation. In the plant genus Thalictrum, ploidy levels vary from two to twenty-four. To determine the influence of WGD events on the evolution of the genus, we identified and compared alleles of the single-copy nuclear gene PISTILLATA (PI) among diploid and polyploid species. Using phylogenetic analysis of PCR -cloned gene copies, we determined the specific mechanisms underlying polyploidy, including instances of shared hybrid ancestry. The PI allleles we have identified in the polyploid species of Thalictrum are most-likely homeologous locii, as they refer to intersections in the genomic content of these species. The next step will be to build a network analysis for the PI gene that includes all of the species analyzed for the MIXTA gene in order to compare the outcomes from the evolutionary histories of multiple single copy genes. In future studies we can further explore the influence of polyploidy to explain transitions in sexual organs and pollination systems in Thalictrum polyploids.
Funder Acknowledgement(s): A personal thanks to Dr. Verónica Di Stilio for mentoring me and letting me work in her lab this summer. She personally introduced me to a myriad of scientific knowledge and made sure that I was challenging myself, and given real research responsibilities. Thank you also to Jesús Martínez-Gómez, for helping me with nearly all of my lab work, and politely and patiently answering my questions. He has been extremely supportive and given me more confidence in the lab. And thank you to the Distilio lab and its participants, especially Kristen Hazelton for giving me additional help with questions and being so happy and spectacular, and Jon Yee for also giving me help and advice. Funding was supplied by the NSF/LSAMP.
Faculty Advisor: Verónica Di Stilio,