UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN
This project will investigate a novel method for producing large amounts of high-quality DNA sequence data for phylogenomic applications. The project will extend a strategy called "microarray-based genome selection" (MGS), which is capable of enriching a DNA sample for thousands of genes, to simultaneous enrichment across distantly related species. As a result, this study has the potential to address the remaining practical obstacles to microarray hybridization across species (cross-species hybridization) and result in hugely increased scaling of MGS technology. Such a scaling up will expedite the assembly of the Tree of Life and accelerate the adoption of next-geenration DNA sequencing technologies in many biological fields. Frogs, a diverse group broadly used in biology, will be the model group for this research. This new genomic enrichment strategy will broadly extend the use of new sequencing technologies by accomplishing two main goals: 1) construction of significantly larger, cheaper and time-efficient molecular datasets, and 2) increasing the number of genetic markers in common across taxonomic groups, which will allow different parts of the Tree of Life to be merged together. The new lab procedures and design strategies will be published via a website and in peer-reviewed journals, further disseminating the MGS enrichment strategy to related disciplines, such as biomedical engineering.