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Alejandro Berrio Escobar

Research Scientist
Biology
130 Science Drive, FFS 4115, Durham, NC 27708

Selected Publications


Recent reconfiguration of an ancient developmental gene regulatory network in Heliocidaris sea urchins.

Journal Article Nature ecology & evolution · December 2022 Changes in developmental gene regulatory networks (dGRNs) underlie much of the diversity of life, but the evolutionary mechanisms that operate on regulatory interactions remain poorly understood. Closely related species with extreme phenotypic divergence p ... Full text Cite

Methodologies for Following EMT In Vivo at Single Cell Resolution.

Journal Article Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) · January 2021 An epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) occurs in almost every metazoan embryo at the time mesoderm begins to differentiate. Several embryos have a long record as models for studying an EMT given that a known population of cells enters the EMT at a know ... Full text Cite

Chromosomal-Level Genome Assembly of the Sea Urchin Lytechinus variegatus Substantially Improves Functional Genomic Analyses.

Journal Article Genome biology and evolution · July 2020 Lytechinus variegatus is a camarodont sea urchin found widely throughout the western Atlantic Ocean in a variety of shallow-water marine habitats. Its distribution, abundance, and amenability to developmental perturbation make it a popular model for ecolog ... Full text Cite

Identifying branch-specific positive selection throughout the regulatory genome using an appropriate proxy neutral.

Journal Article BMC genomics · May 2020 Featured Publication BackgroundAdaptive changes in cis-regulatory elements are an essential component of evolution by natural selection. Identifying adaptive and functional noncoding DNA elements throughout the genome is therefore crucial for understanding the relatio ... Full text Open Access Cite

Positive selection within the genomes of SARS-CoV-2 and other Coronaviruses independent of impact on protein function.

Journal Article PeerJ · January 2020 BackgroundThe emergence of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) associated with severe acute respiratory disease (COVID-19) has prompted efforts to understand the genetic basis for its unique characteristics and its jump from non-primate hosts to huma ... Full text Open Access Cite

Positive selection within the genomes of SARS-CoV-2 and other Coronaviruses independent of impact on protein function

Journal Article · 2020 Featured Publication Background The emergence of a novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) associated with severe acute respiratory disease (COVID-19) has prompted efforts to understand the genetic basis for its unique characteristics and its jump from non-primate hosts to hum ... Full text Open Access Cite

Developmental Single-cell transcriptomics in theLytechinus variegatusSea Urchin Embryo

Journal Article · 2020 Here we employed scRNA-seq coupled with computational approaches to examine molecular changes in cells during specification and differentiation. We examined the first 24 hours of development of the sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus ( Lv ) with 18 time point ... Full text Open Access Cite

Comparative neurotranscriptomics reveal widespread species differences associated with bonding

Journal Article · 2020 Background Pair bonding with a reproductive partner is rare among mammals but is an important feature of human social behavior. Decades of research on monogamous prairie voles ( Microtus ochrogaster ), along with comparative studies using the rela ... Full text Cite

Evaluating Chromatin Accessibility Differences Across Multiple Primate Species Using a Joint Modeling Approach.

Journal Article Genome Biol Evol · October 1, 2019 Changes in transcriptional regulation are thought to be a major contributor to the evolution of phenotypic traits, but the contribution of changes in chromatin accessibility to the evolution of gene expression remains almost entirely unknown. To address th ... Full text Link to item Cite

Comparative Analyses of Chromatin Landscape in White Adipose Tissue Suggest Humans May Have Less Beigeing Potential than Other Primates.

Journal Article Genome Biol Evol · July 1, 2019 Humans carry a much larger percentage of body fat than other primates. Despite the central role of adipose tissue in metabolism, little is known about the evolution of white adipose tissue in primates. Phenotypic divergence is often caused by genetic diver ... Full text Link to item Cite

DNA methylation predicts immune gene expression in introduced house sparrows Passer domesticus

Journal Article Journal of Avian Biology · June 1, 2019 Populations undergoing range expansions are often faced with novel selective pressures, and to cope with such challenges, populations must either adapt quickly or exhibit phenotypic plasticity. This latter option allows for rapid phenotypic adjustments and ... Full text Cite

Comparative analyses of chromatin landscape in white adipose tissue suggest humans may have less beigeing potential than other primates

Journal Article · 2019 Humans carry a much larger percentage of body fat than other primates. Despite the central role of adipose tissue in metabolism, little is known about the evolution of white adipose tissue in primates. Phenotypic divergence is often caused by genetic diver ... Full text Cite

Complex selection on a regulator of social cognition: Evidence of balancing selection, regulatory interactions and population differentiation in the prairie vole Avpr1a locus.

Journal Article Molecular ecology · January 2018 Adaptive variation in social behaviour depends upon standing genetic variation, but we know little about how evolutionary forces shape genetic diversity relevant to brain and behaviour. In prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster), variants at the Avpr1a locus ... Full text Cite

Individual Differences in Social Behavior and Cortical Vasopressin Receptor: Genetics, Epigenetics, and Evolution.

Journal Article Frontiers in neuroscience · January 2017 Social behavior is among the most complex and variable of traits. Despite its diversity, we know little about how genetic and developmental factors interact to shape natural variation in social behavior. This review surveys recent work on individual differ ... Full text Cite

Sex-specific fitness effects of unpredictable early life conditions are associated with DNA methylation in the avian glucocorticoid receptor.

Journal Article Molecular ecology · April 2016 Organisms can adapt to variable environments by using environmental cues to modulate developmental gene expression. In principle, maternal influences can adaptively adjust offspring phenotype when early life and adult environments match, but they may be ma ... Full text Cite

Sexual fidelity trade-offs promote regulatory variation in the prairie vole brain.

Journal Article Science (New York, N.Y.) · December 2015 Featured Publication Individual variation in social behavior seems ubiquitous, but we know little about how it relates to brain diversity. Among monogamous prairie voles, levels of vasopressin receptor (encoded by the gene avpr1a) in brain regions related to spatial memory pre ... Full text Cite

Biologic, morphologic, and genetic aspects of Hypothenemus obscurus and Hypothenemus hampei (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae)

Journal Article Revista Colombiana de Entomologia · July 1, 2011 There are two species of the genus Hypothenemus of economical importance in Colombia: H. hampei and H. obscurus. The first is the most destructive insect pest of coffee worldwide, while the latter attacks several crops including macadamia nut and coffee. T ... Cite

A micro-spreading improvement for spermatogenic chromosomes from Triatominae (Hemiptera-Reduviidae).

Journal Article Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz · May 2006 Cytogenetics of triatomines have been a valuable biological tool for the study of evolution, taxonomy, and epidemiology of these vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi. Here we present a single microtube protocol that combines micro-centrifugation and micro-spreadin ... Full text Cite