Cronn Lab:Research

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Douglas-fir Transcriptome Observatory

The basis of climatic adaptation in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) - possibly the most ecologically and economically important conifer in western North America - is poorly understood. This limits our ability to predict population changes to climate and offer science-based prescriptions for management. The Transcriptome Observatory merges a large-scale translocation study with expressed gene (transcriptome) sequencing to define seasonal leaf transcriptomes, and differences in gene expression that define trees from different geographic region. Our goal is to identify genes that contribute to climatic sensing and adaptation in Douglas-fir.

Conifer Evolutionary Genomics

We contribute to the Gymnosperm Tree of Life ([1]), a collaboration between scientists at 15 university, state and federal institutions who seek to document the complete evolutionary record of gymnosperms. Our group works with Aaron Liston ([2]) and Chris Campbell ([3]) to define chloroplast genomic diversity in members of the pine family Pinaceae ([4]).

Conservation Mitogenomics

Mitochondrial DNA sequences are the most commonly-used molecule for characterizing animal biodiversity. Our group has adapted Multiplexed Sequencing-by-Synthesis ([5]) to enable high-throughput genetic analysis of complete animal mitochondrial genomes. This work is being conducted with Michael Schwartz at the USFS Wildlife Genetics Laboratory ([6]), with primary focus on Fisher (Martes pennanti) and other regionally rare carnivores.

Development of DNA tools to aid genetic conservation and restoration in false cedars

In western North America, Port Orford-cedar ([7]) and Yellow-cedar ([8]) both show evidence of decline due to biotic and abiotic stresses. These species have exceptional ecological and economic value, and conservation of genetic resources is a focus of USFS activities. We are developing microsatellite markers for these species using Multiplexed Sequencing-by-Synthesis ([9]). Our experience shows this to be an efficient, inexpensive, and rapid way to identify tens of thousands of microsatellite-containing sequences. Microsatellites are being used to define spatial genetic structure and characterize valuable resistant breeding materials in these species.

Antelope Bitterbrush Landscape Genetics

Antelope bitterbrush (Purshia tridentata) is an important forage and cover shrub in the inter-mountain region of western North America.