• Graphic representation of cichlid bower construction along with behavioral and genomic data.

Biological diversity in Lake Malawi cichlid fishes

Cichlid fishes from Lake Malawi have radiated into hundreds of diverse species, offering an unparalleled opportunity to study the relationship between genetic variation and phenotypic variation in wild vertebrates. Over the past ten years, we’ve pioneered genomic and molecular biology approaches in this natural system to solve problems difficult to address in traditional model organisms, with the support of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, National Science Foundation, National Institute of Health, and the Human Frontiers in Science Program. Major ongoing projects include:

(i) single cell neurogenomics of complex social behaviors

(ii) tooth and taste bud patterning and regeneration

(iii) developmental diversification of the cranial neural crest, placodal plate and neural plate

We analyze and manipulate genomes and gene expression in multiple species of Malawi cichlids, spanning divergence in embryonic/adult phenotypes and behavior – and translate our findings to zebrafish, mice, and humans.

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