Department of Biology
Suzy C. P. Renn
Associate Professor of Biology
phone: 503 517 7967
Fish 'N Chips: Comparative Genomics and the Evolution of Behavior in African Cichlid Fishes.
Through the synthesis of comparative genomics with
functional studies in behavior, physiology, and ecology, I aim to
understand the genomic basis of behavior from an evolutionary
perspective. By understanding the molecular basis of species-specific,
and context-specific behaviors, I aim to determine if similar behaviors
result from conserved, or converged processes of evolution.
The African Cichlid Fishes have experienced an incredibly rapid
recent and repeated evolutionary radiation that has resulted in thousands
of closely related species that exhibit a wealth
of morphological and behavioral diversity despite very low genomic sequence
divergence. In my lab we aim to identify the structural and functional differences
among genomes that are responsible for this rich species diversity.
Genomic Tool - cDNA microarray
The genomic similarity among African Cichlids allows us to use common genomic
tools to address the molecular basis of the great diversity. The current cichlid
microarray contains ~ 20,000 cDNA features that represent ~ 13,000 unique cichlid
genes. With this microarray we can either measure genome content to address
questions of genomic architecture, or we can measure gene expression level
to address questions of genome function.