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Research

I am interested in speciation; specifically how reproductive barriers are formed in marine invertebrates that broadcast their gametes. I focus on the study of gamete recognition proteins in blue mussels (Mytilus). Three proteins that dissolve the egg’s vitelline envelope have been purified (M3, M6 and M7 lysin), and are thought to control species recognition in Mytilus. However, no direct evidence that these lysins are involved in gamete recognition exists.

To test this, I am working on lysin activity assays in a hybrid zone between Mytilus edulis and M. trossulus, where I am testing if lysin activity is reduced in incompatible cross species fertilizations. I am also isolating cDNAs of the two uncharacterized lysins (M3 and M6), studying their patterns of polymorphism and divergence, and determine their relative role in fertilization success as gamete recognition proteins.




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