We are broadly interested in the evolution of transcriptional regulation. Our research utilizes both empirical and computational approaches and spans the scale from single nucleotides to entire genomes. At the finer end of this spectrum, we are focusing on the functional and fitness consequences of specific genetic variants in regulatory sequences of genes associated with interesting traits. At the other end of the spectrum, we are developing computational and statistical methods to detect natural selection on regulatory elements, as well as high-throughput empirical approaches to identify functional variation in transcriptional regulation at the whole-genome scale. At intermediate scales, we are investigating functional variation within a dense gene network, including heritability, correlations across the network, gene-environment interactions, and associations with organismal traits. Our research leverages the advantages of two primary model clades, primates and sea urchins. Current projects include:

THE EVOLUTION OF GENE REGULATION

Focal studies of interesting genesProjects_singlegene.htmlProjects_singlegene.htmlshapeimage_5_link_0

A diversity of regulatory processes. In principle, a change in any regulatory process could affect gene function, and through this, its trait and fitness consequences. The most thoroughly studied regulatory process from an evolutionary perspective is transcription, in large part because measuring transcript abundance is relatively simple. We aim to understand the evolutionary significance of changes in a variety of regulatory processes within populations and between species.

THE WRAY LAB

PROJECTS