Trainee Author: Tanya Phung
University of California, Los Angeles
(Photo courtesy Ms. Phung)
This paper provides an interesting look at the effect of natural selection on neutral variation and how that could affect interpretations of population history. Specifically, it compares the effects across closely related species and more distantly related species.
ASHG: Could you describe your research for us?
Ms. Phung: My research broadly focuses on understanding how different evolutionary forces have shaped the genetic variation observed within and between species. More specifically, I focus on determining whether natural selection has reduced neutral divergence (DNA differences between members of different species) at linked sites.
I am also developing a method to distinguish the effect of natural selection from mutagenic recombination. Finally, I am examining how natural selection has affected the sex chromosomes differently from the autosomes in the non-model system of dogs and wolves.
ASHG: What are your career goals?
Ms. Phung: I was very fortunate to have been introduced to scientific research even before college and I have loved research ever since. Thus, my career goal is to be a research scientist and it could be either in an academic setting or an industry setting.
ASHG: Why did you choose genetics as your field of study?
Ms. Phung: My undergraduate research, though fascinating, was heavy on the qualitative side of biology. Entering graduate school, I wanted to improve my quantitative bioinformatics skill sets. I chose genetics, specifically population genetics, as my field of study because it is a perfect fit for me to learn both quantitative biology and bioinformatics.
ASHG: Describe yourself in three words.
Ms. Phung: Hard-working, persistent, humble