Dr. Nicole Valenzuela Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology
Iowa State University
251 Bessey Hall. Ames, IA 50011
RESEARCH OVERVIEW We are interested in studying how ecology affects the structure, function, and evolution of the genome and its role in the development and evolution of complex phenotypes. This helps us understand the evolution of biological diversity and how it responds to environmental change.
Development of sexing markers in Glyptemys insculpta and Apalone spinifera turtles uncovers an XX/XY sex-determining system in the critically-endangered bog turtle Glyptemys muhlenbergii. Conservation Genetic Resources. 2017. Full Text
Transcriptomic responses to environmental temperature by turtles with temperature-dependent and genotypic sex determination assessed by RNAseq inform the genetic architecture of embryonic gonadal development PLoS ONE. 2017. PDF
Seeing red to being red: conserved genetic mechanism for red cone oil droplets and co-option for red coloration in birds and turtles supports the existence of colour vision in dinosaurs Proceedings of The Royal Society B. 2016. PDF
Sex determination and the birth and death of species. Ecology and Evolution 2016. PDF
Cytogenetic insights into the evolution of chromosomes and sex determination reveal striking homology of turtle sex chromosomes to amphibian autosomes. Cytogenetic and Genome Research 2016. PDF
Discovery of youngest sex chromosomes reveals first case of convergent co-option of ancestral autosomes in turtles. Chromosoma 2016. PDF
GRADUATE AND POSTDOCTORAL POSITIONS Positions are available for individuals interested in evolutionary biology, sex determination, evo-devo, chromosome and genome evolution, or climate change. Click here for details.
Why do organisms vary so remarkably in the ways they produce males and females? Our work focuses on comparative evolutionary and ecological genomics related to the evolution of developmental pathways, particularly those that underlie the development of the sexual phenotype.
What are the causes and consequences of chromosome evolution? We are studying (a) the evolution of sex chromosomes and the genes they contain, plus (b) the genome rearrangements responsible for changes in diploid number across turtles and their association with transitions in sex determination.