Rene J. Herrera, Ph.D. Professor of Genetics and Molecular Biology
In an effort to study different aspects of human genetic diversity, the laboratory headed by Rene J. Herrera, professor of Biological Sciences, has been involved in the systematic collection and preservation of DNA and cells from populations worldwide. The aim of this effort is to study genetic variations among human groups, especially those in the process of extinction mainly by admixture with other populations.The individuals responsible for this work include honor high school students, undergraduates, master’s and doctoral students as well as postdoctoral fellows. In addition to being responsible for the actual experimentation, they also handle the conception, analyses and writing of the manuscripts for publication. On several occasions, high school students – such as Robert Brown and Martin Szmulewicz – have become senior authors in the resulting publications. Spearheaded by Herrera and with strong support from the University and its Division of Sponsored Research, collections of DNA and cells are being acquired on a regular basis. Currently, this FIU repository includes over one hundred human populations from all over the world, making it one of the largest in existence.