I am looking for researchers interested in molecular evolution and genomics. If you would like to discuss joining the lab, please e-mail me and include a brief description of your research interests.
Across the tree of life, biological organisms exhibit remarkable diversity in genome size, structure, and function. My research aims to elucidate the evolutionary forces that create and maintain this diversity. In many organisms, DNA is partitioned between two or more genomic compartments within the same cell. For example, eukaryotic cells contain both nuclear and organelle genomes, and many organisms harbor microbial endosymbionts inside their own cells. One of the overarching hypotheses that I am investigating is that interactions between these co-occurring genomes represent a major mechanism of genome evolution. This work has involved diverse organisms, including flowering plants, sap-feeding insects, and endosymbiotic bacteria and generally requires a combination of approaches, including field sampling of natural populations, molecular genetic techniques, and computational genomic analysis. To learn more about research in the lab, please visit our lab website.
Sloan DB, Triant DA, Wu M, Taylor DR. 2014. Cytonuclear interactions and relaxed selection accelerate sequence evolution in organelle ribosomes. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 31: 673-682.
Sloan DB, Nakabachi A, Richards S, Qu J, Murali SC, Gibbs RA, Moran NA. 2014. Parallel histories of horizontal gene transfer facilitated extreme reduction of endosymbiont genomes in sap-feeding insects. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 31: 857-871.
Sloan DB, Moran NA. 2013. The evolution of genomic instability in the obligate endosymbionts of whiteflies. Genome Biology and Evolution. 5: 783-793.
Sloan DB, Müller K, McCauley DE, Taylor DR, Štorchová H. 2012. Intraspecific variation in mitochondrial genome sequence, structure, and gene content in Silene vulgaris, an angiosperm with pervasive cytoplasmic male sterility. New Phytologist. 196: 1228-1239.
Sloan DB, Alverson AJ, Chuckalovcak JP, Wu M, McCauley DE, Palmer JD, Taylor DR. 2012. Rapid evolution of enormous, multichromosomal genomes in flowering plant mitochondria with exceptionally high mutation rates. PLoS Biology. 10: e1001241.