ON THE ORIGIN AND BIOLOGY OF VARIATION
Evolution consists of two phases - variation is first generated, and then it is sorted into the next generation. Selection, drift, and migration act during the second phase and are the predominant focus of population genetics. The twentieth-century was filled with advances in understanding their dynamics and interplay. However, all of these forces act on pre-existing variation. Any process that biases what variation is produced - the first phase - will also shape the course of evolution.
We study how the structure and mechanics of developmental and physiological processes dampen or amplify genetic, environmental, and stochastic variation and channel their effects. We mechanistically trace how underlying sources of variation map to phenotypic variation. The lab works with several model systems including embryogenesis in nematodes and signaling and regulatory networks in yeast.