Begun Lab Research

We are interested in understanding the population genetic mechanisms responsible for patterning sequence variation across the genome within and between species. The vast majority of our work uses Drosophila as a model system. Our work spans a wide range of evolutionary genetics approaches, including population genomics, transcriptomics, and genetic analysis of  phenotypes

Origin and evolution of novel Drosophila genes

We use a combination of molecular and computational approaches to identify newly evolved genes in Drosophila. Recent work includes analysis of de novo genes segregating in Drosophila populations. We have also been characterizing male expressed genes that are present in only a subset of melanogaster group species. Our long term goal is a population genetic investigation of the origin and spread of novel genes and functional characterization in different species of the melanogaster subgroup of Drosophila.

Genetics of adaptation in Drosophila

We have been studying latitudinal clines to investigate how spatially varying selection may maintain genomic and phenotypic variation in flies. Our genomic work started with tiling arrays and moved to Illumina sequencing. Our current focus is on investigating the influence of spatially varying selection on gene expression and organismal phenotypes (informed by our genomic data).