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Completed Project

SNP Discovery in Rana sylvatica Populations

Jordan Brooker, Vassar College ’15 and Profs. Jodi Schwarz, Marc Smith and Erica Crespi (Washington State University)
Rana sylvatica, commonly known as the wood frog, range from Georgia to the Arctic Circle. Populations across this range are genetically similar, as measured by neutral markers, but exhibit a range of phenotypic traits. For example, northern frogs are smaller in size, have a shorter larval stage, faster post-metamorphic growth rate, and cannot survive as low of temperatures as southern frogs. These population differences may be explained by single nucleotide polymorphisms among genes related to these phenotypes. We used custom Python scripts and pre-existing gene alignment tools to perform a comprehensive analysis of four different transcriptomes, representing different populations that span the phenotypic range of the species, and then identify genes-of-interest in each of the transcriptomes. Next, we found single nucleotide polymorphisms in these genes and determined whether they represented amino acid substitutions. From this data, we will hopefully be able to identify genetic sources of wood frog phenotypic variation.