Second-year Ph.D. student Hossein Madhani (Life Sciences) received a $5,800 EECG Research Award from the American Genetic Association. The EECG program funds highly competitive proposals from graduate students or postdocs that address genome-scale questions, or ecological, evolutionary, and conservation genetics questions that are best addressed using genomic approaches in a hypothesis-testing framework. Hossein’s study, “The role of immune system incompatibilities in the evolution of isolating barriers in an ongoing adaptive radiation,” will examine the diversity of disease-resistance genes throughout Hawaiian Metrosideros – an ongoing adaptive radiation of trees that captures a wide range of isolating barriers, including hybrid necrosis. Hybrid necrosis is a common type of hybrid incompatibility in plants that results from negative interactions between alleles at resistance genes (R genes) and leads to autoimmunity in hybrids. While R genes are known to underlie hybrid necrosis and generate isolating barriers between diverging populations, no study has examined the role of R genes across an adaptive radiation. The project involves hmm search, BLAST, and NLR-Annotator on each of the five available reference genomes to identify 180 putative R genes in Metrosideros, following by population genomics statistics to uncover evidence of selection and introgression in a subset of R genes in 12 taxa. The EECG Award will allow sequencing of additional trees for near comprehensive characterization of R-gene diversity in the Metrosideros radiation. Hossein is a member of the Stacy Lab.