Adaptive evolution, the product of natural selection, underlies much of all biological diversity. Because plants are essential for the well-being of much terrestrial life (including humans!), we are interested in understanding how plant species evolve, diversify and adapt to new environments. Because of the genetic resources available, we often work with species that are related to domesticated crops. Among the questions we ask are: How do plants evolve to become invasive agricultural weeds? What genetic changes can lead to weediness? How have fruit traits changed during the evolution of wild tomato species, and what genes are involved? What types of genes are important during the process of plant domestication? How can we leverage genetic diversity in species to identify the genes that matter most for adaptation? The Caicedo Lab can host 2 students. More information about the Caicedo Lab can be found here:
This 2-week summer program will utilize the Plant Cell Collection Library (PCCL) at UMass Amherst, a unique resource containing over 2,000 plant cell lines collected from across the globe. Over the two weeks, students will have opportunities to work closely with six UMass professors in the Biology Department and the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Department, as well as a lab technician and a lab manager, to study plants and their importance to human life. You will learn first-hand about the exciting research currently underway in each of these professors’ labs. As a student, you will explore the wonderland of plant-derived natural products, and solve the mystery of a single plant cell line chosen specifically for this course. Finally, this course will give you the chance to have fun with live plants in a research environment, where you can appreciate their diversity, beauty and vast potential.
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Entropy is another important concept for this essay. Entropy is, in its essence, the tendency of hot things to cool off. The concept is now introduced to students as . Even though science , it can measure its effect. At the molecular level, entropy is the tendency of mass to become disordered over time, as the random motion of molecules spreads in collisions with other molecules, until the interacting molecules have the same . Life had to overcome entropy in order to exist, as it brought order out of disorder and maintained it while alive, and it takes energy to do that. The prevailing theory is that net entropy can only increase, and life has to create more entropy in its surroundings so that it can reduce entropy internally and produce and maintain the order that sustains itself. Life is called a negentropic phenomenon, in which it uses energy to reverse entropy to make the order of its organism’s structures, and it is continually using energy to reverse the natural entropy that is called decay.