Thursday, March 7 2019
Room 1005, Roger A. and Helen B. Krone Engineered Biosystems Building (EBB), 950 Atlantic Dr NW, Atlanta, GA 30332
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From GWAS to Gene: Adventures in C. elegans Quantitative and Evolutionary Genetics

Erik Andersen, Ph.D.
Department of Molecular Biosciences
Northwestern University

My laboratory studies the genetics and genomics of complex traits using Caenorhabditis nematodes, including the keystone model organism C. elegans. I will discuss our recent progress on the characterization of genetic variation across the C. elegans species with some new collections from the Hawaiian Islands. We see that population diversity is high in this location as compared to the rest of the world. This genetic variation resource can be leveraged for genome-wide association mappings. I will present our high-throughput fitness assays that measure growth and offspring production after exposures to diverse chemicals and toxins. We discovered and characterized natural variation in response to the metalloid arsenic, identifying a new metabolic effect of this toxin. Lastly, I will present data about how C. elegans disperses in the wild and natural variation in dispersal strategies with implications for niche preferences.

Host: Patrick McGrath, Ph.D.