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BHSU students and faculty present research at the Ecological Genomics Symposium

Jake Alsdurf, Black Hills State University senior biology major from Rapid City, recently presented his research “Non-provisioning epigenetic trade-offs may limit plant range” at the annual Ecological Genomics Symposium in Kansas City, Mo. Co-authors of the research project include Dayna Boesen, junior biology major from Rapid City; Tayler Ripley, sophomore biology major from Pierre; and Dr. David Siemens, associate professor of biology at BHSU.

Black Hills State University student Jake Alsdurf, senior biology major from Rapid City, recently presented research at the annual Ecological Genomics Symposium in Kansas City, Mo. 

Co-authors of the research project include Dayna Boesen, junior biology major from Rapid City; Tayler Ripley, sophomore biology major from Pierre; and Dr. David Siemens, associate professor of biology at BHSU. The title of the research is “Non-provisioning epigenetic trade-offs may limit plant range.”

“Epigenetic effects are inherited environmental effects that do not involve changes to DNA sequence,” said Siemens. “We thought that epigenetic effects might be a way that genetic constraints that restrict range expansion might be overcome. Instead, we found inherent epigenetic constraints that may actually contribute to range limit development,” Siemens continued. 

“The questions that the students at BHSU are asking about ecological genomics are at the same level as questions being asked at major universities,” noted Alsdurf. 

Also attending the symposium were BHSU Integrative Genomics students Kelsey Prosser, from Sturgis and Christi Bubac, from Rapid City. The graduate students are helping Alsdurf clarify the molecular basis of the tradeoff.

The group also had the opportunity to tour the Sanford Children’s Health Research Center in Sioux Falls, the Genomics Core Facility at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, and the Konza Prairie Research Area at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. According to Siemens, ecological genomics is a mix between ecology and molecular biology, and the various tours showed cutting-edge research in each of these disciplines.

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