Dapper Lab

Mississippi State University

The Dapper Lab uses evolutionary genetic approaches to understand the origin and maintenance of genetic variation.  Our research employs both theoretical and empirical approaches, ideally in concert with one another.

Research Interests

Genetic variation within populations is a basic prerequisite for all evolutionary processes.  Thus, understanding the origin and maintenance of genetic variation is of central importance to the study of evolutionary biology.  My research employs a broad range of theoretical and empirical approaches to address how evolutionary forces act upon mechanisms that generate genetic diversity, such as recombination, and how evolutionary forces have maintained genetic diversity in classes of genes that exhibit exceptional levels of polymorphism and rapid evolution, such as immune and reproductive genes.  

Evolution of Recombination Rate

  • How does recombination rate vary within and between natural populations?
  • Is variation in recombination rate adaptive?
  • If so, what selective forces drive variation in recombination rate?
  • How can we better integrate theoretical and empirical approaches in the study of the evolution of recombination rate?

Rapid Evolution of Reproductive Genes

  • Why do genes involved in reproductive processes generally exhibit elevated levels of genetic diversity?
  • What is the role of post-copulatory sexual selection?
  • To what degree can relaxed purifying selection drive the observed patterns?
  • What are the phenotypic consequences of genetic variation in reproductive genes?

Background image by Brandon Cooper.