We are fortunate to be part of a diverse group of biologists collaborating to sequence the genome of Photinus pyralis- the Big Dipper Firefly. Our firefly genome project was chosen as finalist for PacBio’s “Explore your most interesting genome contest”. The winner will be decided by popular vote! If you’d like to support our efforts to sequence the firefly genome, please visit our page on Experiment.com and vote. See details below:
Fireflies! These silent fireworks on warm summer nights fill us with wonder. But so much about these fascinating critters remains shrouded in mystery- from the details of how they light up their lanterns to the way some species are disappearing. A team of biologists has joined forces to sequence the genome of the Big Dipper Firefly, Photinus pyralis, your common backyard firefly. This project is part of the PacBio “Explore your most interesting genome” contest. If you’d like to see the firefly genome sequenced, please go to http://www.pacb.com/smrtgrant/ and vote for the project. Voting opens Monday, April 11 and runs through Sunday, May 1st. One person can vote once per day. Help us shed light on the genome of these captivating creatures!
This summer, over 20 biologists studying meiotic drive in a variety of taxa (including flies, plants, mice, birds and fungi) gathered in the Swiss Alps for a workshop to discuss the outstanding questions on meiotic drive. We were thrilled to be a part of this group. One product of this workshop was a review on the ecology and evolutionary dynamics of drive. You can read the review here:
Amanda recently presented at Rochester’s Science Café at the Pittsford Barnes and Nobles on the “Mysteries of the genome”. Click here to learn more about the series.
Mysteries of the genome 11/24/15
Less than 2% of the DNA in human genomes contains conventional genes that code for proteins. Scientists have known for decades that non-protein-coding regions in the genome can have important functions in regulating genes. However, much of the remaining non-coding and non-regulatory DNA consists of sequences frequently referred to as “junk”. This category includes repeated sequences that we know little about but have links to cancer and other diseases. These repetitive genomic regions can go awry causing catastrophic genomic rearrangements and some can even behave like viruses. In this science cafe, we’ll explore the mysterious parts of genomes rich in so-called “junk” DNA. We’ll discuss the controversy over what is considered a “functional genetic element” and how studying genomic differences within and between species helps shed light on a sequence’s functional significance.
Congratulations to Danielle for winning the 2015 Department of Biology retreat poster contest for the best EEB poster!
Congratulations to Danielle for passing her qualifying exam!
Amanda recently attended a very productive workshop on the ecology of meiotic drive in Arolla, Switzerland. Other Rochester workshop participants were Drs. Daven Presgraves and Rob Unckless (alumnus of the Orr and Jaenike labs).
Ching-Ho Chang joined the Larracuente lab as a first-year graduate student! Click here to read more about Ching-Ho’s work.
The Larracuente lab is officially open and we are settling into our new space. Check out the People tab to see who has joined the lab.