Molecular Genetics and Evolution of Dim-Light and Color Vision
For the last 20 years, we have been studying the molecular genetics and evolution of color vision in a diverse range of species, from fish to human. We are currently cloning the opsin genes of five deep-sea fishes lampfish (S. leucepsarus), loosejaw (A. scintillans), scabbardfish (L. fitchi), thornyhead (S. altivelis), and viperfish (C. macouni), which live at different depths, ranging from 200 to 4,000 m. Among these, the lampfish and viperfish emit bioluminescence at ~480 and the loosejaw at ~480 and ~700 nm. We plan to explore three features of visual pigments: 1) the molecular and chemical bases of the spectral tuning of visual pigments; 2) exploration of adaptive evolution by engineering ancestral pigments and performing mutagenesis analyses; and 3) co-evolution of paralogous pigments in each of the five deep-sea fish species. In experiments, molecular/cellular methods, such as construction and screening of DNA and cDNA libraries, DNA sequencing, mutagenesis, and transfection of cultured cells will be heavily used. In theoretical analyses, quantum chemical computations are performed in the Prof. Keiji Morokuma's (Co-PI) laboratory in Chemistry Department.
Currently, we are looking for recent graduates who are well versed in experimental molecular biology/genetics and are interested in evolution. If you are interested, please send CV to:
Shozo Yokoyama, Ph. D.
Asa G. Candler Professor of Biology
Department of Biology
1510 Clifton Road
Rollins Research Center
Atlanta, GA 30322