The Committee on Evolutionary Biology (CEB) is a unique interdepartmental and inter-institutional graduate student training program dedicated to the study of Evolutionary Biology. Faculty and students in the program are engaged in interdisciplinary studies at time scales that range from single generations to the entire history of life and at organizational scales from the molecular to the global.
In the broadest terms, I am interested in whence new biological functions arise and how they evolve. My works approaches these questions at the molecular level through the study of recently evolved, or young, genes.
Young genes are defined as loci that came into being within the last few million years and therefore are only present in a particular subset of species within a given taxonomic group. Most of these young genes arose through some kind of duplication mechanism, by which an extra copy of an already existing gene is generated. The recent origin of these genes makes them excellent candidates for the study of how new biological phenomena arise and evolve since the molecular signatures and functional consequences of their evolution have not yet been totally obscured by the long march of geological time. Furthermore, since young genes are only present in a few species of a given genus, this creates opportunities to use comparative methods to detect differences between closely related species that either do or do not have the new loci. Most of our work in Manyuan Long’s laboratory focuses on these young genes in the fruit fly genus Drosophila because of the wealth of experimental and computational tools available in this group.Read More about Benjamin Krinsky or visit the Spotlight Archive.