Research: Main
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Research Focus & Philosophy
While constraint and random genetic drift are the primary forces acting on the evolution of most gene sequences over evolutionary time, positive selection does happen at the molecular level and can play a significant role in the development of specific gene sequences. By quantifying the nature of positive and negative selection within and between species, the role that different types of selection can play on the overall "adaptation" of an organism to it's environment can eventually be explored. It is the interplay between these forces and how they can be measured that interests me.

Comparative Genomics:
I have developed a methodology to search for the contrasting effects of positive and negative selection by looking at the physico-chemical properties of amino acids which are differing between species (Wyckoff, Wang, and Wu, 2000). I have also extended this work to a larger data set between humans and old world monkeys (OWM), and have examined human polymorphism in order to determine the rate of fixation of selectively advantageous mutations in primates (Fay, Wyckoff, and Wu, 2001). As I have been collaborating with Dr. Chung-I Wu looking at data coming from a consortium of people working on Macaca fascicularis testis and brain cDNA library sequence, the lab is building in large part upon this work. In addition, we have preliminary data on several reproduction related genes and we are interested in examining these genes more thoroughly. These projects are well suited for graduate thesis work and undergraduate research projects.

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