Elaine Guevara a Yale graduate student, has been working on the microsatellite genotyping of a population of endangered sifaka lemurs (Propithecus verreauxi). This work is part of long-term research carried out at Beza Mahafaly Reserve in Southwest Madagascar on this population of over 700 individuals. These genotypes will determine relatedness for the population, and can answer questions about mating strategies, fitness, and dispersal, as well as help reconstruct the demographic history of the population and assess their genetic diversity. Additional Funding for this work was provided by a YIBS Doctoral Pilot Grant.
Elaine has also worked on a project looking at sweet taste receptor protein variation in primates. It turns out that gorillas have mutations in one of the sweet taste receptors that is predicted to change the binding behavior of a sweet protein, potentially modulating their dietary choices to maximize energy intake.