Riccardo Papa Research Lab
The Papa lab is dedicated to study of genetics and genomics using Heliconius butterflies as our study system at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio PIedras.
My lab explores the genetic and epigenetic source of variation for natural selection and adaptation to work upon. I am interested in investigating what governs patterns diversity, what limits it, and what promotes its potentials. In order to do so, I combine methods of pure genetics, phylogenetics, epigenetics, single cell genomics, developmental cell biology, and functional genomics.
I am especially interested in butterfly wings patterns and chemical sensing, because I am attracted to the great possibility of combining population biology (natural selection and adaptation), with functional genetics and developmental biology.
We used 20 de novo genome assemblies to probe the speciation history and architecture of gene flow in rapidly radiating Heliconius butterflies. Our tests to distinguish incomplete lineage sorting from introgression indicate that gene flow has obscured several ancient phylogenetic relationships in this group over large swathes of the genome.