Walter F. Eanes, Professor
Ph.D., Stony Brook University 1976
Molecular evolution, phylogenetic analysis
Lab Website: Eanes Lab Website
I work on the population genetics and molecular evolution of Drosophila as a model system. In general we are attempting to interface life history, populations genetics, pathway influences, and phenotypic effects of individual metabolic enzymes. We have a large database of metabolic enzymes involving glycogen, trehalose and triglyceride synthesis on D. melanogaster. This includes a sample of about 20 gene sequences (down through the glycolytic pathway) that allow us to identify specific amino aid sequences and recognized specific footprints in sequence data that allow inference about possible selective effects. We also have a set of population samples from Florida to Vermont that allow us to identify specific geographic patterns such as latitudinal clines. Using the P-element insertion series in D. melanogaster we have begun the functional knockout of specific genes in critical points. This has already allowed us to test specific effects of pathway activity variation and determine if individual steps have control over metabolic pool steady levels or possibly flux levels. The flux levels are assayed using NMR measurements using 13C stable isotopes. In addition we have an ongoing project funded by the NSF and in collaboration with Paul Schmidt at Penn to study the ecological genetics of the female reproductive diapause trait in Drosophila melanogaster. Our lab's primary role is in the QTL mapping and identification of the gene or genes responsible for this complex trait life history.