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Environmental Epigenetics

Epigenetic marks, like DNA methylation and histone modifications, can impact chromatin accessibility and alter gene expression. Current and past work incorporating epigenetic data intersects with my interest in organismal plasticity and rapid evolutionary responses. 

Current

Two collaborations focusing on environmental plasticity and the evolutionary implications of corresponding gene expression and/or DNA methylation responses are underway. 1) Genetic and epigenetic responses to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure in adapted and non-adapted Atlantic killifish populations, and 2) Adaptive variation in gene expression and DNA methylation in response to starvation in Astyanax cavefish.

Past

As an undergraduate I used pyrosequencing to examine the conservation of DNA methylation in ultra-converved non-coding elements across vertebrates and investigated the impact of a hypo-methylating agent (5'aza-deoxycytidine) on DNA methylation in Avy mice.

Fish Illustration_edited.png
Fish Illustration_edited.png

Related publications:

Flack N., Drown M.K., Walls C., Pratte J., McLain A., Faulk C. (2023). Chromosome-level, nanopore-only genome and allele-specific DNA methylation of Pallas’s cat, Otocolobus manul. NAR Genomics and Bioinformatics.

Colwell, M., Wanner, N.M., Drown, C., Drown, M.K., Dolinoy, D.C., & Faulk, C. (2020). Paradoxical whole genome DNA methylation dynamics of 5’aza-deoxycytidine in chronic low-dose exposure in mice. Epigenetics.

Colwell, M., Drown, M.K., Showel, K., Drown, C., Palowski, A., & Faulk, C. (2018). Evolutionary conservation of DNA methylation in CpG sites within ultraconserved noncoding elements. Epigenetics, 13(1), 49-60.

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