Thomas King, Graduate Student
Thomas was told that his work would help elucidate the mysterious forces that cause new species to emerge. He was also told that eating expired rotisserie chicken straight out of a plastic grocery bag was "weird". He is not sure what to believe. Thomas is currently investigating two genetic factors, Overdrive and X22, that cause reproductive barriers between the USA and Bogota subspecies of Drosophila pseudoobscura. With a combination of cutting-edge imaging techniques, innovative applications of classical genetics, and a whole lot of hours pushing insects around with a paintbrush, he hopes to shed light on the identity and function of the factors that set populations on the path to speciation.
Thomas's previous project investigated the evolution of condensins, ancient protein complexes essential for proper DNA packaging and cell division. Surprisingly, they're evolving rapidly in in insects, and some insect lineages have even lost condensin subunits -- and yet this doesn't disrupt interactions between chromosomes. Wow!
Outside the lab, Thomas enjoys running, hiking, and planning wedding/plastic surgery-themed social events.
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