CAREER: Intergrative Evolutionary Research

Grants and Contracts Details


During the last decade, concepts and techniques from various biological disciplines have yielded new tools for studying patterns and processes of evolution. Accordingly, it is becoming increasingly important to pursue evolutionary questions that draw upon interdisciplinary concepts and research skills. In this Career Development Plan, evolutionary research, education, and service objectives are proposed to introduce undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty at Colorado State University (CSU) to the emerging, interdisciplinary nature of evolutionary biology. The overall goal of the research component is to integrate genetic and genomic approaches into an existing evolutionary research program that focuses on salamander biology. The specific objectives are to construct the first comparative genome map of any amphibian and pursue quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping of ecologically, evolutionarily, and developmentally important traits. A comparative gene map will allow identification of homologous chromosomal segments between salamanders and other vertebrates, thereby providing the first amphibian perspective to vertebrate genome evolution. This objective will be accomplished by determining the genome location of approximately 600 protein coding loci using existing material from an interspecific mapping cross (Ambystoma mexicanum x A. mexicanum/A. tigrinum tigrinum). The second research objective will be accomplished by performing comparative QTL analyses of two unique urodele traits: metamorphic failure (paedomorphosis) and limb regeneration. Background data are presented to show the feasibility and significance of the research objectives. The specific objectives of the education component are to: (1) Coordinate the development of a new, required course for undergraduate Biology majors at CSU: "BZ220: Introduction to Evolution", (2) Further develop a course for upper division undergraduates and graduate students entitled "BZ478: Molecular and Developmental Evolution.", (3) Establish a recurrent graduate seminar that focuses on evolutionary biology, and (4) Provide research opportunities for undergraduates through the REU program. Finally, the specific objective of the Service component will be to serve as a meeting organizer of the annual meeting of The Society for the Study of Evolution, which will be hosted by CSU in 2004. Taken together, accomplishment of these research, service, and education objectives will further strengthen the program in Evolutionary Biology at CSU.
Effective start/end date10/1/027/31/06


  • National Science Foundation: $382,259.00


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