Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Jennifer Ding Rose Hills

Characterization of Gene Flow Through Experimental Secondary Contact by Molecular Assay

Speciation has long been studied in the field of evolutionary biology, but many questions remain regarding the specific genomic interactions between diverging species. To study the genetic events involved in the development of reproductive isolation and speciation, I will focus on the Drosophila nasuta fruit fly clade which is currently in the process of diverging. I will use molecular assays to characterize gene flow through experimental secondary contact between recently diverged Drosophina nasuta subspecies and draw conclusions about the level and type of reproductive isolation between the subspecies pairs. My results will ultimately be analyzed alongside the results of mating and fertility assays and whole genomic sequencing conducted within the Bachtrog lab to facilitate a better understanding of the extent and kind of reproductive isolation between recently diverged subspecies. This research will provide a framework for future investigations of the genetic and phenotypic reasons behind genetic incompatibilities and their role in promoting reproductive isolation and speciation. I will use my conclusions for my senior thesis addressing the localization of specific genetic incompatibilities.

Message To Sponsor

I am so grateful to both SURF and the Rose Hills Foundation for providing such generous support and such an amazing opportunity. The knowledge and experience I will gain this summer through full-time research and scholarly discussion with peers and mentors will truly be invaluable. I am so excited to dedicate myself entirely to my project this summer and to carry the results through to my senior honors thesis next year. Thank you!
Profile image of Jennifer Ding
Major: Molecular and Cell Biology, Public Health
Mentor: Doris Bachtrog, Integrative Biology
Sponsor: Rose Hills
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