On the Evolution of Primrose

Welcome @davecarlson. Can you tell us about yourself and how you found us?

Thanks @swamidass! I’m a PhD candidate in an Ecology & Evolution program, where I, broadly speaking, study plant genome evolution. I’ve been interested in the creation/evolution conversation for some time, and I believe I was first introduced to Peaceful Science through mentions at the Skeptical Zone.

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What are your personal views on things outside of science?

Well, I like playing with dogs and eating Mexican food :yum:, but if you are referring to matters of a more spiritual nature, I guess I’m an atheist, or at least a nonbeliever. However, I’m very much conversant with (and spent much of life immersed in) American evangelicalism. In general, I prefer to take a live-and-let-live attitude (to the extent possible) when it comes to disagreements regarding religious beliefs, or the lack therefore. But I’m always looking for new places to discuss interesting science.

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I think you’ve found the right place. Please do let us know of any interesting papers or questions that come to mind.

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Looks like you are in the Hollister Lab in Stony Brook looking at plant genetics? It is always brave to join a new assistant professor’s group. Good for you. No publications from you yet though. What are you working on?

Yup that’s the lab I’m in. I work on a group of flowering plants called evening primroses (genus Oenothera) in which many species have a peculiar genetic system that renders them, for all practical purposes, asexual. I’m studying how this loss of sexual reproduction affects the accumulation of transposable element insertions, and the fate of other kinds of potentially deleterious variation using a combination of population genomics, phylogenetic comparative methods, and simulation.

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So, when a plant goes down the asexual path, how do they avoid the Muller’s Rachet? Do they still have recombination and meiosis? Or do they propagate exclusively through cloning?