Jennifer Ding Rose Hills
Characterization of Gene Flow Through Experimental Secondary Contact by Molecular Assay
Speciation has long been studied in the field of evolutionary biology, but many questions remain regarding the specific genomic interactions between diverging species. To study the genetic events involved in the development of reproductive isolation and speciation, I will focus on the Drosophila nasuta fruit fly clade which is currently in the process of diverging. I will use molecular assays to characterize gene flow through experimental secondary contact between recently diverged Drosophina nasuta subspecies and draw conclusions about the level and type of reproductive isolation between the subspecies pairs. My results will ultimately be analyzed alongside the results of mating and fertility assays and whole genomic sequencing conducted within the Bachtrog lab to facilitate a better understanding of the extent and kind of reproductive isolation between recently diverged subspecies. This research will provide a framework for future investigations of the genetic and phenotypic reasons behind genetic incompatibilities and their role in promoting reproductive isolation and speciation. I will use my conclusions for my senior thesis addressing the localization of specific genetic incompatibilities.