Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Joshua Kane L&S Sciences

Characterizing the Formation and Phylogenetic History of an 81-Member Tandem Duplicated Pre-tRNA Gene Cluster in Arabidopsis thaliana

My research fuses the disciplines of genomics and phylogenetics in order to characterize the evolution of large gene arrays. My research focuses on an eighty-one member pre-tRNA gene array located on chromosome one of Arabidopsis thaliana. The array itself is subdivided into twenty-seven triplet gene units, each triplet consisting of a single pre-tRNASer gene and two pre-tRNATyr genes, respectively. Using genomic data, such as syntenic analysis with outgroup species, and phylogenetic reconstruction of the evolutionary history of the genes in the array, my research aims to elucidate the history of the arrays formation, and the mechanism that formed, or equally-possible mechanisms that would have formed, the array as it exists today.

Message To Sponsor

After viewing the TV series Dinosaur!, narrated by the great Walter Cronkite, at the age of four, science became the passion of my life. The ability of science to elucidate the truths of the universe we exist in is unsurpassed; it has been a longstanding goal of mine to actively contribute to the scientific endeavor. My independent research project studying gene arrays now enables me to fulfill that goal; my project is at a scale and level of complexity that allows me to contribute to novel research without biting off more than I can chew, so to speak. The grant awarded to me by SURF allows me to devote my entire summer to ensuring the completion of my research project.
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Major: Molecular and Cell Biology
Mentor: Michael Freeling, Plant and Microbial Biology
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