HARVARD COLLEGE, PRESIDENT & FELLOWS OF
This action funds an NSF Postdoctoral Research Fellowship for FY 2009 using funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Public Law 111-5). The research and training plan is for Matthew K. Fujita and is entitled "Genome structure and its influence on the efficacy of natural selection in reptiles." The host institution for this research is Harvard University under the sponsorship of Dr. Scott Edwards.
Variation in the arrangement of the building blocks of DNA define the structure of the genome, and this structure can have a profound influence on the performance of natural selection. There are strong correlations between signatures of natural selection and structural components of genomes in organisms that are traditional models for genetics research, but not much is known about these relationships in organisms that are not traditional models, such as reptiles. This research (1) identifies and describes the structural components of reptile genomes using the recently-sequenced Anolis lizard genome and an upcoming turtle genome and (2) examines how these structural components affect forces such natural selection that influence genome evolution. This research provides a vision of how evolutionary biologists who study natural populations can utilize these increasingly large and complex datasets with important and relevant questions towards understanding the evolutionary processes responsible for the origin of biological diversity.
Training plans include developing techniques in genomic data organization, computational methods, and statistical analyses. There is also a strong international component to this research that brings together researchers from Harvard University, the Broad Institute in Cambridge, Mass. USA, and Oxford University in the United Kingdom.