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Group of Avian Adaptation and Functional Genomics
Research interests
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Research interests

Adaptation, speciation, the drivers of the biodiversity, are the core of the evolution. How organisms interact with environmental changes? Why some species can make through a hard condition when others not? Why some species are under the risks of extinction but others become successful to make a life everywhere? To understand this process, we have to know how species interact with environmental changes, and how fast they can evolve genetically? How plastic their physiological can be?

Our target species, birds, in particular, passerine, is a big group of birds with small body sizes but make an extraordinary avian diversity. They have adapted to various extreme environments, like high elevation mountains and deserts, with stresses that are much beyond human suitability. Birds also show wonderful behaviors to avoid potential risk from environmental changes, for examples, seasonal and altitudinal migrations. Located on a study area of the high elevation areas, our research group uses an integrated approach, e.g., comparative genomics, comparative transcriptomics, physiological and histological studies to explore the adaptive processes to the different various environments, and potential genetic mechanisms underlying phenotypic changes.

In the animal kingdom, in particular birds, the high elevation environment contain a high diversity of species, providing a large genetic resource for understanding the evolutionary mechanisms to adapt these pathological environments. With avian species from different evolutionary history (reflecting residency time on the extreme environment), different phylogenetic relationship (reflecting how similar genetic background in the beginning), we can set different models to address how convergent these genetic adaptations would be. This suit of evolutionary routes to certain phenotypes reflect different aspects of adaptive continuum, thus could provide multiple, interactive, genetic backgrounds for gene therapy for alpine diseases.

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