We study how pattern forms during development and changes during evolution. We focus on the vertebrate head skeleton, using a genetic approach in the threespine stickleback fish, a species complex that has repeatedly evolved head skeletal adaptations. We seek to understand the genetic basis of craniofacial and dental pattern and how alterations to these genes result in evolved differences in morphology.
In the News
Threespine sticklebacks undergo rapid evolutionary change when they move from the ocean into freshwater, losing their armor and gaining more teeth in as little as 10 years. UC Berkeley biologist Craig Miller now shows that this rapid change results not from mutations in functional genes, but changes in regulatory DNA. He pinpoints a gene that could be responsible for jaw deformities in humans.