David Ray an evolutionary biologist at Mississippi State University (MSU) never turns his back on his research, and with good reason!
Ray and his team study alligators, crocodiles, and bats, among other creatures.
With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), this multidisciplinary team from several universities is mapping crocodile and alligator genomes.
Reptiles resembling these have existed for around 80 million years and they are among the first reptiles to have their DNA sequenced.
The research could expand our knowledge well beyond crocodilians to other reptiles, birds, and even dinosaurs.
When they're not fishing for 'crocs' and 'gators,' Ray's team might be tracking down bats for their research on transposable elements or so-called 'jumping genes.'
These genes can copy themselves and literally jump around in a DNA sequence. Better understanding of them could lead to improved genetic therapies.