John LaRue

Undergraduate researcher

One of the most interesting questions in Evolutionary Biology is how changes in DNA sequence can lead to the evolution of entirely new morphological structures and body plans. I’m interested in the patterns and processes of molecular evolution that drive the morphological diversity we see in the biosphere and in the fossil record. I want to investigate the relative roles of phylogenetic constraints, gene regulation, and gene duplication in the evolution of morphological novelties. To answer these questions, I intend to integrate developmental experiments with comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses in Cnidaria. I also maintain a general interest in the evolution of animal multicellularity and the role of regeneration in Cnidarian development.