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Faculty Profile

Jacob DaaneJacob Daane

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology and Biochemistry

Office: Science & Research 2, 242D
Contact: jdaane@uh.edu

Education: Ph.D., Harvard University

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The Daane lab studies the genetic mechanisms by which species adapt to extreme environments, with a broader goal of discovering fundamental principles of trait development, adaptive radiation, and human disease. We approach these topics through the combined application of comparative genomics and experimental analysis in model organisms.

Genetic Basis of Adaptation to Climate Change and Extreme Environments

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Antarctic notothenioid fishes rapidly diversified following cooling in the Southern Ocean, enabling a retrospective analysis of adaptation to climate change. We are reconstructing the evolutionary genetic events preceding and following climate change events in the Southern Ocean. Additionally, we are also performing experimental analysis in Antarctic fish embryos to discover and predict the future impact of ocean warming on notothenioid biology.

From Oceanside to Bedside: Evolutionary Models of Human Disease

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Traits that may be pathological in humans can be adaptive in the context of other species and environments. We are working to identify the genetic basis of evolved traits and to discover how species overcome the pathological trade-offs that can be associated with disease-like phenotypes. We test comparative genomic signatures within the zebrafish to tease apart conserved mechanisms of developmental and physiological regulation.

Genetic Basis of Evolvability and Origin of Key Traits during Adaptive Radiation

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Do certain features of the genome pre-dispose lineages to adaptation? Why have certain traits evolved repeatedly while others are seldom observed? Do convergent phenotypes arise from similar molecular mechanisms? We are exploring these questions through comparative analysis of multiple fish radiations to identify common genetic signatures of adaptation.