Evolutionary Genetics

Evolutionary genetics is a broad field that arose after the Modern Synthesis of Mendelian Genetics and Darwinian evolution. At its heart, the field seeks to understand how four evolutionary processes (mutation, genetic drift, natural selection and gene flow) combine to change populations of organisms through time. The field impacts a diverse set of academic disciplines including infectious disease, behavior, physiology, genome evolution, development, adaptation, and speciation. Our group uses a variety of molecular, genetic and theoretical approaches to understand how evolutionary change occurs, at both the microevolutionary and macroevolutionary scales. These include phylogenetic analyses to assess the evolutionary history of traits and the processes acting on specific genes, experimental evolution to understand the dynamics of genome evolution and the genetic basis of adaptive traits, and genomic analyses to understand the process of speciation. Because evolutionary genetics concerns processes that affect all organisms, our group is highly interactive and includes researchers studying a broad diversity of organisms such as invertebrates, vertebrates, plants and fungi.

Faculty

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Our laboratory studies the genetic basis of adaptation and speciation using genomic analyses and field-based studies in the genus Aquilegia (Columbines).

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Adaptive evolution within and among wild plant species, with a special interest in physiological performance, life history, phenology, floral traits, and mating system.

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Our lab addresses the question of how complex traits originate during evolution. We primarily study invertebrate visual systems and eyes, addressing questions like, when did a particular phenotype evolve? When did the components of that phenotype evolve? Where did those components come from? What evolutionary processes and mechanisms were involved?

Research in the Oono Lab is focused on understanding how symbiotic associations evolve, particularly between plant hosts or communities and bacterial or fungal microbes.

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The Proulx lab is interested in the fundamental processes that govern evolutionary change. We use mathematical and computational approaches to understand evolutionary dynamics.

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Genetic basis of evolution; speciation, adaptive significance of sexual recombination, intersexual antagonistic coevolution, Interlocus Contest Evolution (ICE), sex chromosomes.

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Molecular and genetic control of development in the nematode C. elegans; regulation of programmed cell death; mechanisms of tumorigenesis.

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We seek to understand the genetic basis of behavioral variation by combingin population genetics and neurobiology in Drosophila and other species.