Complex trait evolution
A major goal of functional genomics is to identify the fitness consequences of derived alleles (single gene copies). Although understanding genotype-to-fitness relationships is centrally important, relatively few studies have both identified genes underlying evolved trait variation and measured the impact of specific alleles on fitness. The recent development of gene editing techniques, which can be implemented in a wide range of organisms, now allows for linking genes to specific traits.
Currently, I am leveraging gene editing techniques to build a genotype to fitness map for candidate pleiotropic genes in Mexican tetras (Astyanax mexicanus). This work aims to understand the genetic basis of complex traits and their evolution and is funded by a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Research Fellowship.
Drown M.K., Oleksiak M.F., and Crawford, D.L. (2023). Trans-acting genotypes drive mRNA expression affecting metabolic and thermal tolerance traits. Genome Biology and Evolution.
Drown, M.K., Crawford D.L., & Oleksiak, M.F. (2022). Transcriptomic analysis provides insights into molecular mechanisms of thermal physiology. BMC genomics.