Department Chair, Biology
Department of Biology
- I conduct research in the fields of molecular evolution and population genetics. Current projects focus on the functional significance of genetic variation in protein coding genes. For example, we have demonstrated that "silent" variation in DNA sequences is not neutral and can affect the accuracy and/or efficiency of mRNA translation and mRNA splicing. In another study, we have compared visual proteins (opsins) in surface and cave populations of amphipod crustaceans and have found that, while opsin gene expression is significantly reduced in individuals from the cave populations, levels of natural selection to maintain opsin function are comparable in surface and cave populations. Research findings have been published in the journals Molecular Biology and Evolution, Molecular Ecology, and Genetics, among others.
DegreesPhD, College of William and Mary
MS, Florida Institute of Technology
BA, University of California, Santa Barbara
Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities
- Molecular evolution, population genetics, & molecular systematics.
Honors, Awards, and Fellowships
- Cave Conservancy of the Virginias. Evolutionary genetics of opsin visual pigment genes in cave and surface populations of the freshwater amphipod Gammarus minus. (2011-2012)
- National Science Foundation. Functional analysis of the codon bias in Adh gene of Drosophila melanogaster.(2003-2008)
- LI-COR Genomics Education Program (2005)
- NOAA Sea Grant.Phylogenetic Systematics and Cepalopod Biodiversity (1998-1999)
- National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Enhancement Award (1996-1999)
Work In Progress
- Experimental evolution of codon bias in Escherichia coli.
- Comparative molecular evolution of genes in cave and surface spring populations of the freshwater amphipod Gammarus minus.
- Computational analysis of codon bias and gene ontology in the genomes of holometabolous and heterometabolous insects.
- Carlini DB, Satish S, and Fong DW. In press. Parallel reduction in expression, but no loss of functional constraint, in two opsin paralogs within cave populations of Gammarus minus (Crustacea: Amphipoda). BMC Evol Biol.
- Aspiras AR, Prasad R, Fong DW, Carlini DB, and Angelini D. 2012. Parallel reduction in expression of the eye development gene hedgehog in separately derived populations of the amphipod Gammarus minus. J Evol Biol 25:995-1001.
- Hense W, Anderson N, Hutter S, Stephan W, Parsch J, and Carlini DB. 2010. Experimentally increased codon bias in the Drosophila Adh gene leads to an increase in larval, but not adult, alcohol dehydrogenase activity. Genetics 184:547-555.
- Hutchins B, Fong DW, and Carlini DB. 2010. Genetic population structure of the Madison Cave isopod, Antrolana lira (Flabellifera; Cirolanidae) in the Shenandoah Valley of the eastern United States. J Crust Biol 30:312-322.
- Carlini DB, Manning J, Sullivan PG, and Fong DW. 2009. Molecular genetic variation and population structure in morphologically differentiated cave and surface populations of the freshwater amphipod Gammarus minus. Mol Ecol 18:1932-1945.