Week 8 update

The main goal for last week was to wrap up the petal spot project. Everything needed to be completed and finalized by Wednesday. I worked with CiCi to take a high quality developmental series for the final poster.

I also attended a practice talk given by our graduate student, Caroline, about her work researching the genetic basis of hybrid novelty in mimulus. Her work involves crossing parents M. cupreus and M. variegatus and observing the wide range of novel traits that appear in the F2 generation. She is researching four main questions: whether the differences observed in the F2 plants are due to genetic variation, whether the genetic variation is due to many smaller loci or one bigger area, whether the variation applies to interspecies crosses, and what regulatory mechanisms cause the pigmentation.

Additionally, I attended a practice talk given by CiCi, the senior researchers on the petal spot project. At the botany conference this week she will be giving a three minute “lightening talk.” Her talk discusses the petal spot project, and how evolutionary novelty as a result of hybridization leads to specization. She has taken a quantitative look at petals of mimulus and has designed a mathematical model investigating hybrid novelty that can use simulations to create reliable models of how petal spots form.

I also continued to work on the hybrid milkweed project. I preformed a size selection protocol on DNA samples from two milkweed leaves from the herbarium. One set of samples I isolated >100 base pairs, and for the other set I isolated >200 base pairs. The goal of this was to see if there wasn’t a high enough DNA yield of >200 base pairs whether increasing the range of DNA to >100 base pairs would increase the yield. Furthermore, I preformed a five hour JOVE extraction on herbarium tissue that yielded much better DNA results. This extraction actually gives us enough DNA to work with and we will be sticking to this protocol for the future of the hybrid milkweed project.

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