Hopi E. Hoekstra

Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology in the Museum of Comparative Zoology
Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
Professor of Molecular and Cellular Biology
Curator of Mammals in the Museum of Comparative Zoology
Harvard College Professor
Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator

Phone: 617-496-9040
Office: 206 MCZ Labs, 26 Oxford St

Lab Website: http://www.oeb.harvard.edu/faculty/hoekstra

Our research focuses on understanding how variation is generated and maintained in natural populations. In particular, we are interested in understanding both the proximate (i.e., molecular, genetic and developmental mechanisms) and ultimate (i.e., timing, strength and agent of selection) causes of evolutionary change. Thus, much of our research focuses on identifying and characterizing the molecular changes responsible for traits that affect fitness of organisms in the wild. To this end, we use an interdisciplinary approach combining molecular techniques (ranging from next-gen sequencing and transcriptomics to cell-based pharmacological assays and in vivo viral vectors), population-genetic tests, classical genetic crosses, lab-based behavioral assays and field-based experiments. We focus primarily on natural populations of mammals in which ecological, developmental and genomic information can be combined to address questions about the evolution of morphological, behavioral and reproductive diversity.

Recent Publications

Linnen, C.R., Y.-P. Poh, B.K. Peterson, R.D.H. Barrett, J.G. Larson, J.D. Jensen and H.E. Hoekstra. 2013. Adaptive evolution of multiple traits through multiple mutations at a single gene. Science 339:1312-1316.

Weber, J.N., B.K. Peterson and H.E. Hoekstra. 2013. Discrete genetic modules are responsible for the evolution of complex burrowing behaviour in deer mice. Nature 493:402-405.

Manceau, M., V.S. Domingues, R. Mallarino and H.E. Hoekstra. 2011. The developmental role of Agouti in color pattern evolution. Science 331:1062-1065.

Fisher, H.S. and H.E. Hoekstra. 2010. Competition drives cooperation among closely-related sperm of deer mice. Nature 463:801-803.

Aminetzach, Y.T, J.R. Srouji, C.Y. Kong and H.E. Hoekstra. 2009. Convergent evolution of novel protein function in shrew and lizard venom. Current Biology 19:1925-1931.

Linnen, C.R., E.P. Kingsley, J.D. Jensen and H.E. Hoekstra. 2009. On the origin and spread of an adaptive allele in deer mice. Science 325:1095-1098.

Steiner, C.C., J.N. Weber and H.E. Hoekstra. 2007. Adaptive variation in beach mice caused by two interacting pigmentation genes. PLoS Biology 5:1880-1889.

Hoekstra, H.E. and J.A. Coyne. 2007. The locus of evolution: evo devo and the genetics of adaptation. Evolution 61:995-1016.

Hoekstra, H.E., R.J. Hirschmann, R.A. Bundey, P. Insel and J.P. Crossland. 2006. A single amino acid mutation contributes to adaptive color pattern in beach mice. Science 313:101-104.

See complete publications list.

Courses Taught

OEB 53. Evolutionary Biology

OEB 230. Speciation

OEB 231. Adaptation

OEB 370. Mammalian Evolutionary Genetics


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