Anoka-Ramsey Biology student co-authors published epigenetic research

Anoka-Ramsey Biology student co-authors published epigenetic research

February 14, 2017

Anoka-Ramsey Community College Biology student, Vladimir Petrenko was selected to be the only undergraduate co-author in a paper on epigenetic research, published by Oxford Academic in the Journal of Heredity in February.

Paula Croonquist, an Anoka-Ramsey Biology Faculty member and other research collaborators from Princeton University selected Petrenko because of the importance of his research and data to the study.

 The research, “Ancestry-specific methylation patterns in admixed offspring from an experimental coyote and gray wolf cross,” investigated epigenetic mechanisms, such as DNA methylation, and their potential role on silencing genetic incompatibilities in interspecies hybrids.

Croonquist, Petrenko and the other collaborators concluded that DNA methylation is site-specific in hybrid genomes and identified four damaging genes targeted by methylation.

“This study opens the door for wildlife and evolutionary geneticists to start exploring epigenetics, perhaps as a critical driver of hybrid adaptation,” said Croonquist. 

Not only did this research have the capability to broaden the study of epigenetic mechanisms in wildlife, the research also inspired Petrenko to dig deeper into the topic.

“This project has sparked a deeper interest into molecular biology, a subject I am now considering to study through the lens of medicine,” said Petrenko.

While being the only undergraduate co-author was not an easy task, Petrenko believes Croonquist’s guidance and passion assisted him in playing an intricate role in conducting the research.

According to Croonquist, exposing students to undergraduate research—especially at the community college level—is empowering and provides more opportunities to continue their studies.

“We use research as a high impact pedagogy, which is documented to increase students’ learning, engagement and retention in STEM fields,” said Croonquist.

To view the published research visit:

For more information about the Anoka-Ramsey Community College Biology Department’s Undergraduate Research programs, visit

Supplementary Information