Gene replication is an established mechanism for the generation of raw genetic material upon which evolution may act. For example, tandem replication of genes to generate arrays of paralogs underlies functional diversification in vertebrate sensory systems. Tandem replication of opsin (visual pigment) genes and subsequent neofunctionalization provide selective advantages for the exploitation of novel visual environments, food sources, and mate selection. Despite their importance, the mechanisms underlying the subsequent “acts” of neo-functionalization of new genetic material are not clear. In this Modeling Access Grant proposal, we use the tandemly-replicated cone opsin genes of teleosts and primates to address this significant knowledge gap. The tandemly-replicated cone opsin genes are ideal for this study because many independent tandem replications have occurred very recently, and because experimental protein structures are available to inform molecular models. Early in vertebrate evolution, one-rod opsin (RH1) and four cone opsin.
Patel, Colleagues Find Pesticide May Contribute to Global Obesity EpidemicSeptember 13, 2021
U of I Molecular Modeler Jagdish Patel worked with Canadian scientists to screen several common food additives or contaminants. They discovered that the commonly sprayed organophosphate insecticide chlorpyrifos puts the break on the burning of calories in the brown adipose tissue of mice and published their work in Nature Communications in August. Slowing down this burning of calories, a […]
What’s your COVID-19 exposure risk in a gathering?November 24, 2020
Thank you to reporter Kyle Pfannenstiel for highlighting some of U of I’s COVID-19 modeling efforts, as originally published in the Post Register. If you’ll be at the dinner table with people you don’t live with this week, research from the University of Idaho can help you gauge how likely you are to bump into someone who […]
It Takes a Village (and a Research University)November 20, 2020
This article was written by Alexiss Turner, Marketing and Communications Manager from the College of Engineering, for the recently published “Here We Have Idaho” magazine. IMCI and many of our faculty participants have been very involved in the COVID-19 pandemic response. We are proud to be part of the many research efforts campus-wide that continue […]