NRM’s Stevens contributes to groundbreaking Zoonomia Project
By: Norman Martin
Richard Stevens, the President's Excellence in Research Professor within Texas Tech's Department of Natural Resources Management, was among the collaborators in the Zoonomia Project who recently published their multi-year comparative genomic analysis of mammals and the influence of genetic change on health and disease in the April issue of Science magazine.
The international Zoonomia Project featured the work of more than 150 researchers across seven time zones. The focus is on comparing the genetic sequences of enough mammals to be able to say where their genetic differences lie – and what makes humans genetically distinct.
One of the 11 papers released by the project last week included the work of Stevens, who was part of a team of more than a dozen researchers from Tech's Department of Biological Sciences. The study was titled, “Insights into mammalian TE diversity through the curation of 248 genome assemblies.”
“We conducted a comparative analysis of genome architecture of 248 mammal species to better understand how transposable elements (TE's) are distributed within genomes,” Stevens said. “My role was to conduct multivariate statistical analyses to order mammal species along gradients of TE composition.”
The ordering of mammalian species in terms of their TE's provides understanding as to the evolution of these elements within genomes, he said. Similarities and differences among mammal species and how they are related to different kinds of TE's, in particular older versus newer elements, can provide insights into how TE's evolve.
An expert in ecology and conservation biology, Stevens has served on the American Society of Mammalogists' Board of Directors, and associate editor of the Journal of Mammalogy. His doctorate in biology is from Texas Tech.
Among Stevens' Texas Tech collaborators were:
- Austin Osmanski (Graduate Student / Biological Sciences)
- Nicole Paulat (Graduate Student / Biological Sciences)
- Jenny Korstian (Graduate Student / Biological Sciences)
- Jenna Grimshaw (Graduate Student / Biological Sciences - Natural Resources Management)
- Michaela Halsey (Graduate Student / Biological Sciences - Natural Resources Management)
- Kevin Sullivan (Graduate Student / Biological Sciences)
- Diana Moreno-Santillan (Post Doc / Biological Sciences)
- Claudia Crookshanks (Undergraduate / Biological Sciences)
- Jaquelyn Roberts (Undergraduate / Biological Sciences)
- Carlos Garcia (Graduate Student / Biological Sciences - Natural Resources Management)
- Matt Johnson (Assistant Professor / Biological Sciences)
- Llewellyn Densmore (Professor / Biological Sciences)
- David Ray (Professor / Biological Sciences)
CONTACT: Richard Stevens, President's Excellence in Research Professor, Department of Natural Resources Management, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-6843 or email@example.com
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Editor: Norman Martin
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