Identifying molecular mechanisms modulating robustness
The effects of new mutations on phenotypes depend on the genetic background already present (epistasis). Some epistatic interactions are between one allele and only one other allele. However, a single allele can also interact with many other alleles. For example, mutations in the presence of an allele that alters DNA repair mechanisms may have different effects than otherwise. Efforts in my lab focus on finding these highly epistatic genes using a variety of approaches.