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Evolution and Genetics

The theory of evolution provides a coherent explanation for all biological phenomena. All of the Faculty in the EEB Department pursue research interests to a greater or lesser extent connected to evolution. A core group of Faculty address evolutionary questions directly, at very different scales of biological organization, and they all use techniques of molecular biology to answer those questions.

Peter Andolfatto Computational and experimental population genetics of Drosophila and butterflies

Iain Couzin Evolution of collective decision-making.

Rosemary Grant & Peter Grant Population and community-level phenomena, asking such questions as how species form and what roles natural selection and hybridization play in speciation.

Laura Landweber  Genomic evolution, seeking to understand the evolutionary origins of complex features, especially in microbial eukaryotes (protists).

Simon A. Levin  Evolution of disease, evolution of life history strategies, evolution of stoichiometry.

Carolyn McBride  Molecular basis of behavioral evolution, ecological adaptation, and speciation.

Daniel Rubenstein  Evolution of behavior.
 

Bridgett vonHoldt My research interests go beyond the scope of studying DNA variants and include other dimensions of the genome. The convergence of genome technologies and natural history hypotheses sets the stage for exploring traditional questions of behavioral ecology, population biology, and evolutionary history at multiple genomic levels.


Thus the group spans a range of interests from RNA to macroevolution, from microbes to vertebrates, with frequent overlap with the neighboring disciplines of ecology, behavior, physiology, conservation biology and molecular biology, as well as mathematics, chemistry, physics and engineering.


Photograph by Robert L. Hammersmith

Singled-celled ciliate Oxytricha trifallax, a pond-dwelling protozoan was used when Landweber and her lab members uncovered a new biological mechanism by which an organism able to pass on to its offspring characteristics acquired during its lifetime, which may improve survival chances.

The Study of Evolution Campus-wide
Faculty and students in several departments across the Princeton campus pursue many topics in evolution in an interactive setting. Please visit the Molecular Evolution at Princeton website for details.