Stephen I. Wright
Research areas: Population genetics, genome evolution, plant genetics and
My primary research interests concern understanding the forces driving patterns of nucleotide polymorphism and genome evolution in natural populations. I am particularly interested in questions such as: 1) What is the relative importance of mutation vs. natural selection in driving the evolution of genome structure? 2) How do population history and mating systems influence the structuring of genetic variability and the effectiveness of natural selection? 3) What is the rate and strength of adaptive evolution and deleterious mutation, and what is their genetic basis? I use several main approaches to address these questions, including the collection and analysis of DNA sequence polymorphism and molecular evolution data, the analysis of large-scale genome sequence information, and the use of population genetic theory for testing hypotheses and understanding empirical patterns. These approaches are applied in a comparative context, making use of both model and non-model organisms, to understand the forces driving differences within and among genomes in patterns of genome diversity and structure. Current projects include:
1) Characterizing the forces driving transposable element abundance and evolution (Arabidopsis, Antirrhinum)
2) Investigating the effects of recombination and mating system on genome evolution and diversity (Arabidopsis, Brassica, Capsella)
3) Distinguishing the effects of demographic history and natural selection on genetic diversity (maize, Arabidopsis)
4) Role of gene and genome duplication on species diversification and genome evolution (Arabidopsis)
Wright S.I., Foxe, J.P., DeRose Wilson, L., Kawabe, A., Looseley, M., Gaut, B., and Charlesworth, D. 2006. Testing for effects of recombination rate on nucleotide diversity in natural populations of Arabidopsis lyrata. Genetics in press.
Wright S.I., Bi I.V., Schroeder S.G., Yamasaki M., Doebley J.F., McMullen M.D., and B.S. Gaut. 2005. The effects of artificial selection on the maize genome. Science 308:1310-4.
Wright, S.I. and B.S. Gaut. 2005. Molecular population genetics and the search for adaptive evolution in plants. Molecular Biology and Evolution 22:506-519.
Wright, S.I., and B. Charlesworth. 2004. The HKA test revisited: A maximum likelihood ratio test of the standard neutral model. Genetics. 168: 1071-1076.