The McGlaughlin Lab

Plant Population Genetics

Dr. Mitchell McGlaughlin

University of Northern Colorado



Research in the McGlaughlin Lab is focused on using genetic tools to understand patterns of plant diversification. In particular, our goal is to dissect the mechanisms that lead to the formation of new species. To achieve this goal we use a wide range of genetic data types, including nuclear microsatellites, low copy nuclear sequence data, and chloroplast sequence data. Speciation research projects are generally focused at the interface between populations genetics and phylogenetics, with an emphasis on documenting the coalescence of alleles within lineages. This type of research serves to inform our understanding of the evolutionary units of biological diversity and the forces that shape divergence and diversification.

A second major focus is research aimed at using genetics to understand the conservation of rare and endangered plant taxa. Unlike many conservation genetic studies, we ask evolutionarily important questions that relate to conservation, rather than solely collecting information on levels of genetic diversity. I am particularly interested in the genetic circumscription of rare taxa, spatial genetic structure within populations, genetic divergence associated with ecological gradients, and levels of gene flow among isolated populations. 

Additional topics of interest include, plant hybridization, isolation by distance, spatial genetic structure, and ecological speciation.

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