Abstract Detail



Phylogenomics

Pischl, Phyllis [1], Duvall, M [2].

The Evolutionary and Ecological Roles of Illinois Listed Endangered and Threatened Grasses.

     This research investigates the genetic evolution of endangered and threatened grass species listed in the state of Illinois to help reveal the genetic diversity these species add to the Illinois flora. The Illinois Endangered Species Protection Board lists 18 grasses, 17 species as endangered and one species as threatened. The specific aims needed to achieve this goal are to first extract and sequence the DNA of the plastid genome (plastome) for each of the endangered and threatened grasses; this DNA contains the species’ unique genetic information. Of these 18 grasses, the plastid genome DNA for four species has already been sequenced and published.  For the remaining fourteen endangered species, leaf material was obtained with permission from preserved herbarium specimens for DNA testing. Using a modified DNA extraction procedure, DNA was successfully extracted from these herbarium specimens.  Next these data will be used to determine the evolutionary history of these grasses and the changes in their DNA over time. From this history, the relationships between these E/T grasses can be elucidated as well as their relationships to other members of the grass family, Poaceae. Then, these relationships will be evaluated in the ecological context of Illinois grasslands to understand the genetically-determined roles of these species in the biodiversity of Illinois, i.e., the number of species, and the variety of their genetic traits, found in the areas they inhabit. This line of research will reveal the uniqueness of these grass species and the positions they fill in their environment.
     The findings of this study will provide a better understanding of the role of each species in its habitat and the relationship of endangered grass species in Illinois with one another, other grass species, and the environments they inhabit. Understanding the roles and relationships these grass species maintain will give fundamental information to support future conservation efforts. This study will inform ecologists of not only the biodiversity these grasses provide, but also the genetic diversity they represent. Because funding for conservation efforts is often limited, the genetic information provided by this research may help prioritize species or ecosystems for conservation. The findings of this research may also provide insight for other studies.


1 - Northern Illinois University, Biological Sciences, 1425 W. Lincoln Highway, DeKalb, IL, 60115, United States
2 - Northern Illinois University, Plant Molecular And Bioinformatics Center And Department Of Biology, 1425 W Lincoln Hwy, Dekalb, IL, 60115, United States

Keywords:
Poaceae
Endangered Species
Phylogenomics.

Presentation Type: Poster
Number: PPH006
Abstract ID:607
Candidate for Awards:None


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