This collaborative research project between the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras and the Mississippi State University aims to determine how novel phenotype evolve. We want to characterize the genomic changes and molecular mechanisms that are responsible for the evolution of morphological diversity. To achieve this goal we are using butterfly wing color patterns as a model system to build an integrative understanding of genotype to phenotype relationships. Our mission also includes educational and outreach activities in order to prepare a diverse group of skilled researchers, innovators and educators.
This Research Infrastructure Improvement Track-2 Focused EPSCoR Collaboration (RII Track-2 FEC) is a joint project between the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras and Mississippi State University that addresses a fundamental question in biology: How do changes in DNA result in changes in phenotype? The study leverages morphological diversity in butterfly populations and cutting-edge DNA sequencing methods to explore how genetic changes impact wing pattern development. The goals are to understand what type of genomic changes and molecular mechanisms underlie biological diversity and prepare a diverse group of skilled researchers, innovators, and educators. Educational activities include modernizing undergraduate biology laboratory courses, student exchanges between PR and MS, genome to phenome workshops and other professional development workshops for early career faculty and K-12 teachers, and research experience opportunities for K-12 teachers and students. The team members will develop a bilingual (English and Spanish) curriculum for use in secondary schools focused on genomics and gene expression and regulation and explain concepts of natural diversity, adaptation, and evolution that aligns with Next Generation Science Standards and jurisdictional Department of Education Science Standards. Continue reading “About”