Dr. David Houle
I am an evolutionary geneticist who does both experimental and theoretical work. I study the relationship between genetic variation, phenotypic variation, and adaptation. Our biggest unknowns in biology are the paths through which genetic variation affects the phenotype, and in turn how the phenotype affects organismal fitness. All of my work is aimed at understanding this genotype-phenotype-fitness map. In my laboratory work, we use Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly, to get at these questions using a combination of molecular, genetic, and whole-organism techniques. The fruit-fly system is ideal for addressing complex evolutionary questions that are not accessible in any other organism. Our current projects are of the roles of development in shaping the evolution of wing shape and of the relationship between natural and sexual selection. We have undertaken a wide variety of other projects using flies in the past. During my current sabbatical at the University of Oslo, I am using measurement theory to elucidate the differences between good and bad science.Selected Publications:
Copies of these papers are available from the Publications page of my Personal Home Page.
Hereford, J., T. F. Hansen, and D. Houle. 2004. Comparing strengths of directional selection: how strong is strong? Evolution 58: 2133-2143.
Mezey, J. G., and D. Houle. 2005. The dimensionality of genetic variation for wing shape in Drosophila melanogaster. Evolution 59:1027-1038.
Fuller, R. C., D. Houle, and J. Travis. 2005. Sensory bias as an explanation for the evolution of mate preferences. American Naturalist 166:437-446.
Rifkin, S. A., D. Houle, J. Kim, and K. P. White. 2005. A mutation accumulation assay reveals a broad capacity for rapid evolution of gene expression. Nature 438:220-223.
Hansen, T. F., and D. Houle. 2008. Measuring and comparing evolvability and constraint in multivariate characters. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 21:1201-1219.
Haag-Liautard, C., N. Coffey, D. Houle, M. Lynch, B. Charlesworth, and P. D. Keightley. 2008. Direct estimation of the mitochondrial DNA mutation rate in D. melanogaster. PLOS Biology 6:1706-1714.
van der Linde, K., and D. Houle. 2008. A supertree analysis and literature review of the genus Drosophila and closely related genera (Diptera, Drosophilidae). Insect Systematics and Evolution 39:241-268.
Tomaiuolo, M., R. Bertram, and D. Houle. 2008. Enzyme isoforms may increase phenotypic robustness. Evolution 62:2868-2883.Postdoctoral Associates: