PhD Defense by Chinar Patil

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In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of 


Doctor of Philosophy in Biology

in the 

School of Biological Sciences


Chinar Patil


will defend his dissertation




Wednesday, October 31, 2018

2:00 PM

Ford ES&T Room L1118


Thesis Advisor:

Dr. J. Todd Streelman, Advisor

School of Biological Sciences

Georgia Institute of Technology


Committee members: 

Dr. Michael Goodisman

School of Biological Sciences

Georgia Institute of Technology


Dr. Soojin Yi

School of Biological Sciences

Georgia Institute of Technology


Dr. Fredrik O. Vannberg

School of Biological Sciences

Georgia Institute of Technology


Dr. Reade B. Roberts

W.M. Keck Center for Behavioral Biology

Comparative Medicine Institute

North Carolina State University





Understanding the genomic basis and origin of phenotypic variation is one of the fundamental questions of biology. Evolutionary radiations characterized by a range of natural phenotypic variants between genetically closely related species are a great model to study the origin and genetic mechanisms underlying phenotypic diversity. I use one such model, cichlids from Lake Malawi to understand the basis of complex behavior evolution. Lake Malawi cichlids are broadly divided into rock dwelling and sand dwelling lineages based on the habitat they colonize in the lake. Within this split on the basis of habitat comes a wide range of behavioral differences that define rock dweller and sand dweller cichlids. Within the sand dweller lineage, males build species specific bowers to attract females in seasonal leks. Whole genomes from 28 different cichlid species from Lake Malawi were used to show that:


(a) Most of the variation segregating rock dwelling cichlids from sand dwelling cichlids is in functional regions in the genome, associated with genes and pathways related to early brain development and adult behavior and


(b) Bower building behavior has repeatedly evolved via with polygenic selection on ancient and new genetic variants associated with genes and pathways involved in neural activity.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Created: 10/18/2018
  • Modified By: Tatianna Richardson
  • Modified: 10/18/2018


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