Department of Biology

Renn Lab

Student Project Ideas

(check back often as new ideas will be added)

These pages include scientific ideas that supplement my own research interests. I provide a short summary and a few references but students are encouraged to propose independent ideas.

  1. Genetic Basis for Maternal Behavior in A. burtoni * (several projects)
  2. Natural vs. Environmental Sex-Role Reversal among Julidochromis species * (several projects)
  3. Identification of Rapidly Evolving Cichlid Genes with hCGH *
  4. Proof of Principle for hCGH using Drosophila melanogaster (related to project 3)
  5. Sex Determination in African Cichlids
  6. Data Imputation with cDNA Microarray Data
  7. Assortitive Mating by Cichlid Populations
  8. Blue fish / Yellow fish
  9. Bioinformatics (several projects available)
  10. Genomic Resources for Cichlids - complete 2006 Robby Kunkle

(* indicates ongoing projects that are a main focus in our research)


Student Project Idea 3

Identification of Rapidly Evolving Genes Among African Cichlids

Murdock Life Science Funded Project

The incredibly rapid, recent and repeated radaition of African Cichlid Fishes has resulted in a wealth of phenotypic diversity. The amazing phenotypes include behavioral diversity as well as morphological diversity. We would like to identify the genomic changes that have accompanied the many speciation events. Ideally we would compare genomic sequence information between each of the species and this will soon become possible. Due to the efforts of the Cichlid Genome Consortium, we secured funding for a full genome sequence of two cichlid species, and partial sequence of a few others. However, we will never have full genome sequence for the hundreds of interesting species. Therefore, I propose to adapt a cDNA microarray technique in order to identify rapidly evolving genes. Because the microarray is built with DNA from one species that will always hybridize well in comparison to more divergent species. With the microarray we can assay the degree of divergence for individual genes.

This experiment will not only indicate genes which are potentially involved in the evolution of diverse phenotypes, this project will also lay the groundwork for future techniques of comparative gene expression profiling. There is a lot to do on this project !!!




Preliminary DATA for D.Lunt 20071212