We use the power of genome biology to study the functional adaptations of reptiles. Our projects focusing on evolution and conservation are identifying the genetic basis of adaptations of reptiles to the desert environments of the southwest US and Mexico. Our projects focusing on regeneration are identifying the conserved cellular and molecular pathways that allow reptiles to regrow appendages and complex tissues.


Evolution and Conservation

Reptiles are among the most diverse group of amniote vertebrates, but whole genome sequencing efforts are only just now focusing on studying the diversity in lepidosaurs, turtles and crocodilians. Building on the genome of the first non-avian reptile, the green anole lizard, sequences have been published from a number of snakes, turtles, and crocodilians species.

Anole lizard Photo by Amanda Phung  on Unsplash


Lizards display the remarkable ability to regenerate their tails after self-amputation, forming new muscle groups and hyaline cartilage, a tissue type that current medical therapies are unable to regenerate.