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Lab Members and Projects

Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics Lab

Lab Members and Projects

Ecological and Evolutionary Genomics Lab

We have two main projects in the lab, one on genomics of domestication and the other on genomics of symbionts and their hosts, we use population genetics in both cases to answer all sorts of biological and evolutionary questions, read along to find out more!

Population genomics of wild relatives of pepper:

reconstructing the history of Mexican crops

The evolutionary path from wild to domesticated species is a complex multi-staged process that can be understood with genomic and population genetic tools. We are interested in the comparative genomics and population genomics of Mexican crops and their wild relatives. Our goal is to know more about their demographic history and to identify polymorphisms of adaptive value that will help reconstruct their path toward domestication

Maria Fernanda Guizar (MSc, Integrative Biology, Spring 2016) fernanda90gz@gmail.com is an Engineer from Tecnológico de Monterrey with a strong math background interested in understanding genetics. Fer is analyzing chilli pepper ancient and modern genomes to elucidate changes that took place during domestication and diversification of Capsicum in Mexico.

Erik Díaz (
MSc Spring 2018, Plant Biotechnology) graduated from the Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, and is now interested in ecology and evolution of plants using genomic tools, in particular to understand the role of genetic and transcriptomic variation in local adaptation. He is particularly interested in understanding how cultivated plants have changed from wild relatives. His main focus is the evolution of pungency in Capsicum, and his main goal is to identify genes associated to pungency and drought in a MAGIC mapping population and in a panel of chile diversity, using transcriptomes. Contact him here: erdiazval@gmail.com, ediaz@langebio.cinvestav.mx

Population genomics and metagenomics

of cycads and their symbiont cyanobacteria.

Elucidating genomic adaptation processes of species in the wild is fundamental for contextualizing studies from model species, and to understand how species thrive and become cosmopolitan. We explore the genomic variation underlying adaptation in natural landscapes using Mexican cycads (Dioon spp) and their symbiotic root bacteria. Cycads (Cycadales) are long-lived gymnosperms with ecological, reproductive, chemical, and fascinating evolutionary histories that trace back to the Permian. Cycads are the oldest known lineage with specialized root structures that house nitrogen-fixing symbionts. Our main hypothesis is that root bacteria may have allowed cycads to colonize new microhabitats as landscape and environmental conditions have transformed. We test this hypothesis using genomic, metagenomic and metabolomic approaches to measure taxonomic and functional bacterial diversity, and the population genetics of the plant hosts.

Pablo Peláez (Postdoctoral Fellow; ppelaez@langebio.cinvestav.mx) received his Ph.D. at the Institute of Biotechnology of the National AutonomousUniversity of Mexico (UNAM). During his Ph.D., he worked on small RNA-mediated plant defense responses. Since joining our lab in 2015, he has been studying the adaptive plasticity of cycads root system in response to biotic environments.

Pablo Suarez Moo (PhD, Fall 2018, Plant Biotechnology) is interested in applying tools from systems biology, ecological metagenomics, community ecology and phylogenomics, to measure taxonomic and functional diversity on the cycad root microbiome. Write to him: pablolosuarez@gmail.com

Josian Corona (MSc, Summer 2016, Plant Biotechnology) is interested in the metagenomics of bacteria associated to cycad roots, the comparative genomics, and the applied aspects of this system. His undergrad thesis was figuring out who is in the roots of Dioon spp with a few markers. Write to him: gocanjo@hotmail.com

Paco Gabriel Perez (MSc, Summer 2016, Plant Biotechnology) is working on the landscape genetics of the cycad hosts, Dioon spp, all throughout Mexico, using microsatellites and transcriptomes. He is also working in the phylogeography of the genus Dioon. Write to him: paco.peretz@gmail.com

Flor Zamudio is our Lab Manager and without her we have no idea how we could function on a daily basis. Flor has experience in genomic techniques and is now learning the ropes of administrative lives, contact her here fzamudio@langebio.cinvestav.mx.

FORMER lab members

Pablo Cruz (Postdoc,Spring 2014-2015) is a biochemist who recently graduated in LANGEBIO from Paco Barona’s lab. During his stay in our lab he helped analyze metagenomic sequences from cycad-associated bacteria pcruz@langebio.cinvestav.mx

Jessica Perez-Alquicira (Postdoc, Spring 2014-2015) is an evolutionary ecology PhD from UNAM, Mexico city. Jessica worked on
the population genetics of Capsicum and ants using RADSeq data. She is now at the Instituto de Ecologia, UNAM.

Eric Gonzalez (Masters student, 2013) - Biologist from UNAM, Eric worked on the genomic structural variation in maize (PAVs), now a PhD student in the Sawers Lab, LANGEBIO.

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