Biology Colloquium - Dr. Shannon Straub

Biology Colloquium - Dr. Shannon Straub

Postby cdouglas » Thu Mar 13, 2014 10:17 am


“Skimming the Cream of the Milkweed Genome for Next-Generation
Plant Systematics”

Dr. Shannon Straub
Postdoctoral Scholar
Department of Botany and Plant Pathology
Oregon State University

Wednesday, March 19, 2014
3:00 – 4:00 PM
Science 2, room 109

North American milkweeds (Asclepias) are a recent, rapid evolutionary radiation of 115 species that display an incredible range of floral and vegetative morphology and occupy a diversity of ecological niches. Milkweeds have served as model systems in ecological and evolutionary studies, including studies of plant reproduction, plant-insect co-evolution, and chemical ecology, due to their highly specialized flowers and variety of anti-herbivore defenses. However, our understanding of their evolutionary relationships and the drivers of their diversification has been limited. Next-generation sequencing technology was used for the Milkweed Genome Project to sequence the genome and transcriptome of the common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), which provided resources to develop genome skimming and targeted sequencing tools to understand the evolutionary history of milkweeds through phylogenomics. Analysis of genome-scale data from nuclear, plastid, and mitochondrial genomes allowed resolution of relationships among species, showed extensive evidence of convergence in floral morphology, and revealed signal consistent with hybridization and introgression. Resolution of the phylogenetic relationships in this group is providing the essential framework for further understanding of milkweed floral evolution, defense syndromes, and genomic diversity. In addition to promoting progress in understanding milkweed evolution, the Milkweed Genome Project has also provided the basis for comparative genomics of defense gene families in milkweeds and relatives, as well as the opportunity for genome exploration, which has revealed the second known case of horizontal gene transfer from a flowering plant mitochondrial genome to a plastid genome.
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If you need a disability-related accommodation or wheelchair access, please contact Katie Williams at the Department of Biology at 278-2001 or e-mail (at least one week prior to event).
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