Trudy F. C. Mackay

Clemson University

Primary Section: 27, Evolutionary Biology
Secondary Section: 26, Genetics
Membership Type: Member (elected 2010)

Research Interests

I am a geneticist, interested in understanding how multiple interacting molecular polymorphisms and environmental factors cause phenotypic variation in quantitative (complex) traits within and between populations and species. Using fruit flies (Drosophila) as a model system, I have used transposon tagging, high-resolution recombination mapping, genetic complementation tests, and whole genome transcript profiling to identify novel genes affecting morphology, lifespan, behaviors, stress resistance and human disease. I have shown that the genetic basis of quantitative traits is highly complex, and that new mutations and segregating alleles affecting variation in these traits have effects that are conditional on sex, genetic background and the external environment. However, individual DNA polymorphisms affect variation in quantitative traits via networks of interacting transcripts, proteins, and metabolites. Thus I have been recently interested in developing Drosophila resources and computational approaches to integrate genotype-phenotype relationships across multiple levels of biological organization to uncover entire genetic pathways that affect variation of quantitative traits. These studies provide candidate genes for studying homologous traits in other species, including humans; and improve our ability to predict responses of complex traits to natural and artificial selection.

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