Carl Rothfels, Professor

Closed (1) Phylogeography and Molecular Genomics of a Ethnobotanically Relevant Tuber Crop in the Americas

Closed. This professor is continuing with Fall 2018 apprentices on this project; no new apprentices needed for Spring 2019.

This project examines the evolutionary relationships between populations of Bomarea edulis, a plant formally cultivated for its edible tubers in the Americas. By understanding how populations of this species are related to each other and how important traits have evolved in these populations, we will study the possible domestication of the plant prior to European conquest of the Americas and the consequences of subsequent lack of cultivation following European conquest. In addition, this project examines the systematics of Bomarea edulis and related species to determine if domestication of this plant group occurred once or multiple times, leading to convergent phenotypes.

Students will be trained in molecular techniques of DNA extraction from fresh material as well as ancient DNA from preserved museum collections. Specific techniques include DNA extractions, RNA extractions, starch quantification, microscopy, and potentially next generation sequencing library preparation. In addition to learning these specific techniques, students will have the opportunity to participate intellectually in the lab environment and read and discuss relevant scientific literature.

Day-to-day supervisor for this project: Carrie Tribble, Ph.D. candidate

Qualifications: Qualifications: Students should have completed or be currently enrolled in at least one semester in relevant biological undergraduate coursework (e.g. Biology 1B) and should have an interest in evolutionary biology, botany, or systematics. Some experience with DNA extractions and other molecular lab work is preferred but not required.

Weekly Hours: to be negotiated

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