The Effects of the Environment on Phenotypic and Genetic Variation
Type of DegreePhD Dissertation
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The study of genetic and phenotypic variation in the natural world is one of the cornerstones of biological research and is the founding basis of many subfields. Despite centuries of research, there still remains questions that are not fully answered. For example, 1. What are the underlying genetic causes for phenotypic variation?; 2. How does the environment shape life history traits?; 3. How does the environment introduce novel genetic variation? To address these questions, I used two of the most common animal models are Macaca and Drosophila. For the first question I used genomic data from the underrepresented M. arctoides to look for genetic signatures responsible for its novel phenotypes. For the last chapters I focused on the nutritional environment to investigate how it affects the phenotypic and genetic variation using Drosophila. Specifically, to look at phenotypic variation (life history) I used the under researched, D. pseudoobscura. For genetic variation I used the model D. melanogaster to look at how diet affects recombination rate.