Biology Department Seminar | Mo Siddiq, University of Michigan | Evolutionary variation of metabolic genes: molecular causes and organismal consequences
Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology.
Organisms and their phenotypes diversify over evolutionary time because of genetic changes. What these genetic changes are and how they act mechanistically remain largely unknown. Addressing this knowledge gap requires linking variation in genes to variation in molecular, biochemical, and organismal phenotypes. My research aims to establish these links using an integrative approach to better understand the types of genetic changes and molecular mechanisms that have caused evolutionary variation in metabolic genes in Drosophila flies and Saccharomyces yeast. Results from my work center on two themes: 1) how proteins and their regulation both evolve to create different types of diversity at the molecular and organismal phenotype level and 2) how different types of genetic changes can work to reshape genotype-phenotype relationships even in the absence of phenotypic divergence. Collectively, my research highlights how relying on sequence signatures of selection can lead to spurious inferences about historical evolution and seeks to demonstrate alternative approaches in which complementary types of experiments are used in explicit evolutionary frameworks to understand mechanisms that drive patterns of phenotypic conservation and diversity.