Enabled by powerful genomic technologies, quantitative genetics has focused on identifying functional variants in order to build the genotype-phenotype map. The goal is to formulate models, that describe the population genetic dynamics of these variants, and to connect their evolutionary trajectory to proximal molecular mechanisms and ultimately ecological factors. This is clearly a tall order, but the field is making great progress in this direction. I am interested in understanding the emergence of variation in co-regulated gene networks and how such variation gives rise to phenotypic variation. Allelic effects are clearly context dependent, influenced both by genetic background and by the environment. This realization has far reaching implications ranging from our understanding of response to selection to our understanding of the genetic basis of human disease and the ability to predict phenotype from genotype. The challenge now is to embrace this complexity and develop an experimental and analytical framework that will inform how the genotype-phenotype map influences and is influenced by evolution. Ultimately, I want to understand how natural selection shapes genetic variation and reshapes genomic architecture to produce adaptive phenotypes.
Faculty Assistant: Dawn Capizzi