Hopi E. Hoekstra

Hopi E. Hoekstra

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

Faculty Support: Nikki Hughes

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

Mallarino R, C Henegar, M Mirasierra, MC Manceau, C Shradin, M Vallejo, S Beronja, GS Barsh and HE Hoekstra. 2016. Developmental mechanisms of stripe patterns in rodents. Nature 539:518-523.

Fisher HS, E Jacobs-Palmer, JM Lassance and HE Hoekstra. 2016. The genetic basis and fitness consequences of sperm midpiece size in deer mice. Nature Communications 7:13652.

Linne, CR, Y-P Poh, BK Peterson, RDH Barrett, JG Larson, JD Jensen and HE Hoekstra. 2013. Adaptive evolution of multiple traits through multiple mutations at a single gene. Science 339:1312-1316.

Weber JN, BK Peterson and HE Hoekstra. 2013. Discrete genetic modules are responsible for the evolution of complex burrowing behaviour in deer mice. Nature 493:402-405.

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

Fisher HS and HE Hoekstra. 2010Competition drives cooperation among closely-related sperm of deer mice. Nature 463:801-803.

Linnen CR, EP Kingsley, JD Jensen and HE Hoekstra. 2009. On the origin and spread of an adaptive allele in deer mice. Science 325:1095-1098.

Hoekstra HE and JA Coyne. 2007. The locus of evolution: evo devo and the genetics of adaptation. Evolution 61:995-1016.

Hoekstra HE, RJ Hirschmann, RA Bundey, P Insel and JP Crossland. 2006. A single amino acid mutation contributes to adaptive color pattern in beach mice. Science 313:101-104.

Contact Information

Biological Labs, Rm. 4103
16 Divinity Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
p: 617-496-9040

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