Our Research

Our research incorporates laboratory experiments with microorganisms, population genetic and genomic studies of natural populations, as well as computational approaches aimed at elucidating general principles of adaptive evolution.  

Specific questions include:

  • What is the genetic basis of adaptation?  Can we identify mutations that drive adaptation?  Can we trace their dynamics in natural populations?  Are there general rules about adaptation that allow us to predict how evolution will proceed? 
  • To what extent does adaptation depend on chance? Are there many different mutations that all produce adaptive phenotypes - or just a few?  What are the consequences of chance for the mutations that fuel adaptive change?   
  • What processes limit or constrain adaptation?  Why are organisms not perfectly adapted?  How does the genetic architecture of traits promote or constrain adaptive outcomes?
  • Are there conflicts between what is beneficial in the short-term versus the long-term?  Can selection favor what is good for the group, in the face of what is costly to the individual?  Where these conflicts exist, how have they played out over evolutionary timescales? 

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