Reconstructing Ancient Phenotypes

When accessing the deep past, we have two main datasets to draw upon in reconstructing major transitions in the biosphere: the rock record (i.e., fossils, biosignatures and geologic indicators of environment) and extant biotic diversity (i.e., genetic sequences, proteins and organismal variability). Under this theme, we explore paleogenetic methodologies that allows us to reconstruct and then resurrect ancient protein sequences and utilize these modern  tools for interpreting ancient biosignatures recorded in the rocks, and for shedding light on significant past events in evolution.

Molecular Evolution of Rubisco proteins

In order to understand how the ancestral behavior of proteins and their host systems change through time, we are reconstructing key proteins that are involved in phenotypically distinct metabolic pathways that are of interest to biologists and geologists. Through our collaborations with paleobiologists and phylogeneticists, we aim to answer the question of whether the phenotypes we observe relate to larger scale changes in the global biogeochemical system.

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More on what we do.