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Foundation Grants USD’s Wish for New Microscope

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Inside USD -- When Tara Piraneo left Connecticut nearly five years ago, she did so to enjoy San Diego for its location and to soak up a college experience on a smaller campus. But when the 2010 University of San Diego biology graduate reflects on her decision now, one of the most memorable moments stems from her seed beetle research.

Piraneo’s project, developed through working on an independent research project with USD Biology Professor Geoffrey Morse, PhD, examined two seed beetles that, while close relatives, had noticeable differences. Spines in the legs of a promiscuous seed beetle have more differentiation, some small and some big. Meanwhile, the spines in the legs of a monogamous beetle have little variation. The promiscuous beetle has an intense sexual selection that can evolve differently than those without it. (Full Story)

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