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Research Seminar – Dr. Todd Oakley, University of California, Santa Barbara

April 12 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm


Research Seminar – Dr. Todd Oakley, University of California, Santa Barbara

“Taking the fork in the road: The origin of bioluminescence and the diversification of luminous courtship in ostracods ”

Bioluminescence is an ecologically impactful phenotype often used in communication, including courtship signals whose origins increase rates of speciation. Because bioluminescence is strongly influenced by few or even single genes, learning how those genes originate is critical for understanding how genetic changes impact diversification. One origin of bioluminescence occurred in cypridinid ostracods (Crustacea), which employ complex courtship displays that differ among dozens of species from the Caribbean. Cypridinid bioluminescence involves c- luciferase enzymes, which contain only two deeply conserved sequences. I will discuss the unexpected history of this gene, including a proliferation of its constituent domains, which predates the inferred origin of cypridinid bioluminescence. Although we still have much to learn about gene function, this mode of gene origin may be similar to Innovation Amplification Duplication (IAD), but with different timing. In this case, Amplification began before functional Innovation and gene Duplication events (AID). This order of events has implications for mechanisms of molecular evolution. These results illustrate how contingent, unpredictable genetic histories might contribute to ecologically impactful phenotypes.

Contact: Biological Sciences Graduate Student Association – bsc.gsa@gmail.com


April 12
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Event Category:


2008 North Lawn