Primate Genomics Lab
The Primate Genomics Lab examines primate evolution through integrative analyses of primate phenotypic and genetic variation. Although our research spans several topics, from behavioral genetics to the evolution of hair color, all of these projects ultimately address larger over-arching questions:
Do convergent primate phenotypes come about via convergent proximate mechanisms? That is, when distantly related species independently develop similar traits (e.g. red hair, color vision, flat faces) is this usually due to similar changes at the molecular level (same mutation, same gene, same pathway)?
Does the proximate provide a clue to the ultimate? Understanding which genes, polymorphisms, and pathways underlie specific phenotypic variation can inform our hypotheses about the evolutionary forces acting on those traits.
How do the forces of micro-evolution shape the social structure of primate communities? The major factors that drive evolution - selection, drift, migration - are difficult to observe and document in wild primate populations. In collaboration with field primatologists, we utilize an indirect approach to studying these factors through genetic analyses of wild primates.