Department of Biology

Renn Lab

Suzy C. P. Renn

Associate Professor of Biology


phone: 503 517 7967

office: B 124

Fish 'N Chips: Comparative Genomics and the Evolution of Behavior in African Cichlid Fishes.


Lofty Goal

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.

Model Organism(s)

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.