Miguel Ángel Minaya Santacruz
Visiting Graduate Student

Department of Biological Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago


Miguel

Graduate Student, Universidad Zaragoza
Crta. Cuarte s/n  22071 Huesca (Spain)
Phone: 974 232 457  Fax: 974 239 302
e-mail: miguel.minaya [at] unizar.es
Advisor: Pilar Catalán Rodriguez

I am a PhD student at the Universidad de Zaragoza (Spain). I am working with the research group Bioflora. Our project is focused on the multigenomic evolution of Poaceae based on the combined analysis of nuclear (GBSS, ß-amylase, pgiC1, pgiC2, ITS, ETS), mitochondrial (rps3, rpl5, rps14), and plastidic (ndhF, matK, rbcL, atpB, trnTL, trnLF) genes. Our goal is to obtain a solid Pooideae tree of life that would allow us: i) to infer relationships among taxa; ii) to estimate the evolutionary rates of lineages, genes and genomes; iii) to evaluate potential adaptive selection operating on non-synonymous positions of genes, iv) to test correlations between evolutionary rates and different biological and ecological features and v) to describe diverse events of Horizontal Gene Transfer (HGT) inside the Poaceae family.

During my short-term stay at Robie's laboratory, from June to December of 2010, my research will focus on sequencing the nuclear ß-amylase gene in representatives of PACCAD, Ehrartoideae, Bambusoideae and Pooideae, especially in the Aveneae-Poeae group. My main goal is to describe the potential reticulation events in Pooideae, attempting to find the parental origin of the hybrid genomes.  I will also try to find the presence of multiple insertions and deletions of non-autonomous miniature inverted repeat transponible elements (MITEs; Stowaway) inside the ß-amylase gene. The evaluation of polymorphic patterns of these Stowaway elements in the phylogeny of Pooideae will allow us to investigate the dynamics of these transposons within a broader evolutionary framework.

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