I am Kai Wang, a graduate student from College of Life Sciences at Wuhan University in China. I am applying for the “Young Investigator Travel Award” of SMBE 2016. So far I have been involved in two projects: one project was finished and the other is still ongoing.
The first project was published in GBE last year, which was entitled “Birds generally carry a small repertoire of bitter taste receptor genes”. Using recently released 48 avian genomes, we characterized the evolution of avian bitter taste receptor genes (Tas2rs) and tested whether dietary toxins have shaped the repertoire size of avian Tas2rs. Our analyses appear to support that herbivorous and insectivorous birds demand more functional Tas2rs than carnivorous birds feeding on noninsect animals, and highlight the critical role of taste perception in birds.
The second project is to uncover the genomic basis of adaptation in the spiny mouse (Acomys cahirinus) to a microclimate contrast in the two opposite slopes of “Evolution Canyon” in Israel, where show strong abiotic contrasts including differences in temperature and humidity. We sequenced and annotated the draft genome of the spiny mouse, and resequenced the whole genomes of several individuals from both slopes, aiming to examine patterns of genetic differentiation at the genome-wide level between these two recently diverged populations inhabiting the two slopes.