E&H Professor of Biology Christy Fleet Researches Orchid DNA

Posted by Leah Prater
Dr. Christine Fleet, Professor of Biology at Emory & Henry College, began piecing together the DNA story of P. fragrans, a beautiful but under-studied orchid, as part of her fall 2021 sabbatical research.

“Across the thousands of species of orchid, there is a very specific toolkit of genes they all have,” Fleet explains. “So, if all plants are working with the same toolkit to make a flower, how do you get all these different kinds of flowers?”

P. fragrans P. fragransHer research has applications in plant-pollinator interactions, as some species differences are related to “what’s pollinating that flower and what pollinators it’s attracting,” she says. Additionally, she noted that the study of flowers has “serious economic interest in the horticulture industry.”

Through a process called “genome sequencing”—which she says is like reading the instruction book for a species—Fleet utilized newly developed skills and advanced software applications to analyze the genetic data of P. fragrans. While she did not complete the genome assembly this past fall, she said she found enough data to lend her work to others for continued study, especially undergraduates whom she mentors in her program.

“It is exciting to be able to do genomics at a small college, and to have the time and access to resources to play around in that world,” she says.

During her sabbatical, Fleet also conducted research to improve the effectiveness of first-year science courses taught in the Natural Sciences Division at Emory & Henry.

“We had lots of questions about how we teach sciences and make it as inclusive as possible,” Fleet says, explaining that sometimes students encounter imposter syndrome–a feeling of not belonging in science fields. “If students don’t come away from a first-year science course feeling welcomed or capable, we need to explore approaches and resources that will help them succeed in the field.”

Fleet, entering her seventeenth year at the college, says she is grateful to be part of a community that works “to create the best learning environment we can.”

  • Dr. Christy Fleet in the E&H Greenhouse

“It is exciting to be able to do genomics at a small college, and to have the time and access to resources to play around in that world.”

-Dr. Christy Fleet

Location:

McGlothlin-Street Hall

More News

  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/910-eamph-biology-majors-present-research-results-at"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/6633_IMG_6940.rev.1564170636.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/6633_IMG_6940.rev.1564170636.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/6633_IMG_6940.rev.1564170636.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/6633_IMG_6940.rev.1564170636.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/6633_IMG_6940.rev.1564170636.JPG 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/6633_IMG_6940.rev.1564170636.JPG" alt="ASB 2019 Memphis, TN" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/6633_IMG_6940.rev.1564170636.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/6633_IMG_6940.rev.1564170636.JPG 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2400" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/910-eamph-biology-majors-present-research-results-at">E&H Biology majors present research results at ASB 2019 in Memphis, TN!</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Rising Senior Biology majors Madison McKinsey, Liberty Sheppard, and Carley Gunnell traveled to Memphis, TN to present the results of their independent research at the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Association of Southeastern Biologists, 26-30 March 2019. <a href="/live/news/910-eamph-biology-majors-present-research-results-at" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/11-taylor-blevins-19-researches-systematics-and"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/416_Copy_of_IMG_3314.rev.1502112336.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/416_Copy_of_IMG_3314.rev.1502112336.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/416_Copy_of_IMG_3314.rev.1502112336.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/416_Copy_of_IMG_3314.rev.1502112336.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/416_Copy_of_IMG_3314.rev.1502112336.JPG 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/416_Copy_of_IMG_3314.rev.1502112336.JPG" alt="" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/416_Copy_of_IMG_3314.rev.1502112336.JPG 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2400/416_Copy_of_IMG_3314.rev.1502112336.JPG 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2400" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/11-taylor-blevins-19-researches-systematics-and">Taylor Blevins ‘19, Researches Systematics and Taxonomic Status of the Nantucket Island Mouse</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Blevins is researching the systematic status and biogeographic history of the subspecies of white-footed mice occurring on Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and Monomoy Islands in southern New England. By evaluating a combination of morphological and molecular characters, she hopes to determine the systematic position and colonization history of the population on Nantucket Island (<em>Peromyscus leucopus fusus</em>) relative to other populations on the islands off the southern New England coast. <a href="/live/news/11-taylor-blevins-19-researches-systematics-and" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/23-erin-kirk-17-dna-sampling-technique-to-save"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/438_Erin_Kirk-Ampersand-Day-2017_379.rev.1502370950.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/438_Erin_Kirk-Ampersand-Day-2017_379.rev.1502370950.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/438_Erin_Kirk-Ampersand-Day-2017_379.rev.1502370950.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/438_Erin_Kirk-Ampersand-Day-2017_379.rev.1502370950.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/438_Erin_Kirk-Ampersand-Day-2017_379.rev.1502370950.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/438_Erin_Kirk-Ampersand-Day-2017_379.rev.1502370950.jpg" alt="Erin Kirk presenting in the 2017 Ampersand Day showcase." width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/438_Erin_Kirk-Ampersand-Day-2017_379.rev.1502370950.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/83/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/0,0,3200,2133/438_Erin_Kirk-Ampersand-Day-2017_379.rev.1502370950.jpg 3x" data-max-w="3200" data-max-h="2133" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/23-erin-kirk-17-dna-sampling-technique-to-save">Erin Kirk, ‘17, DNA Sampling Technique to Save Salamanders</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Kirk is a Ledford Scholar who is exploring non-invasive methods for DNA sampling of endangered salamanders.</span> <a href="/live/news/23-erin-kirk-17-dna-sampling-technique-to-save" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>
  • <div class="lw_news_image"><span class="lw_item_thumb"><a href="/live/news/563-harrison-austin-15-pursues-translational-research"><picture class="lw_image"> <source type="image/webp" srcset="/live/image/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/505,0,2643,2136/5297_1.rev.1540910919.webp 1x, /live/image/scale/2x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/505,0,2643,2136/5297_1.rev.1540910919.webp 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/505,0,2643,2136/5297_1.rev.1540910919.webp 3x"/> <source type="image/jpeg" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/505,0,2643,2136/5297_1.rev.1540910919.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/505,0,2643,2136/5297_1.rev.1540910919.jpg 3x"/> <img src="/live/image/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/505,0,2643,2136/5297_1.rev.1540910919.jpg" alt="Harrison Austin in his research lab" width="345" height="225" srcset="/live/image/scale/2x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/505,0,2643,2136/5297_1.rev.1540910919.jpg 2x, /live/image/scale/3x/gid/10/width/345/height/225/crop/1/src_region/505,0,2643,2136/5297_1.rev.1540910919.jpg 3x" data-max-w="2138" data-max-h="2136" loading="lazy"/> </picture> </a></span></div><div class="lw_widget_text"><h4 class="lw_news_headline"><a href="/live/news/563-harrison-austin-15-pursues-translational-research">Harrison Austin, ’15, pursues translational research in infectious disease</a></h4><div class="lw_news_summary"> Austin’s research has taken him from Emory & Henry College to the University of Liverpool as he studies infectious diseases.  <a href="/live/news/563-harrison-austin-15-pursues-translational-research" class="link-with-arrow gold">Keep reading</a></div></div>