Dr. Maggie Sefton

Main Focus

The Genetic Basis of Coloration Patterns in Cichlids   The cichlids found in African and Neotropical lakes provide excellent examples of adaptive radiations, and therefore are ideal biological systems to study the process of speciation. One of the most important traits involved in the adaptive radiations of cichlids is coloration, which plays an important role in natural and sexual selection. For my Ph.D. thesis, I will be investigating the genetic basis of the rapid adaptation and speciation in cichlids by examining the genes involved in the development of coloration patterns.                
My first project will involve assaying the function of known color genes in vivo in the Midas cichlid, Amphilophus citrinellus. I will use the transgenesis technology to modify candidate genes in vivo and assess the resulting phenotypes in mature fish. Currently, I am working on refining the methods of establishing transgenesis in this species. My second project will examine the transcriptomic basis of coloration in several African species. Using RNAseq, I will compare gene expression levels of five separate species, one subspecies, and between sexes.

Curriculum Vitae

  • 2017 Doctor of Natural Sciences, Biology, University of Konstanz, Germany
  • 2013 MSc in Biology, University of California San Diego, USA
  • 2012 BSc in Biology: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution, University of California, USA
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