Focus & Philosophy
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.
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
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