Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Hoekstra, Hopi E.
Location Harvard University
Primary Field Evolutionary Biology
Secondary Field Genetics
 Election Citation
Hoekstra's pioneering research has illuminated both the molecular and ecological basis of classic evolutionary traits in vertebrates. She has produced a rare synthesis at the genomic, developmental, organismal, and population levels, providing textbook examples of evolution that connect single DNA changes all the way to whole-animal adaptation in changing environments.
 Research Interests
Hopi Hoekstra's laboratory is interested in the genetic basis of evolutionary change. To this end, she has pioneered the use of wild rodents, primarily deer mice (genus Peromyscus), to study the molecular changes contributing to variation in a range of traits - from morphology to reproduction to behavior. Her early work focused on identifying mutations that give rise to cryptic coloration in mice that have repeatedly colonized novel habitat. This work became a textbook example of rapid adaptation, experimentally testing the adaptive value of camouflaging color to identifying mutations and developmental mechanisms responsible for color variation. She then extended this work to explore the mechanisms driving more complex color patterns, like rodent stripes. Building on her work in pigmentation biology, her laboratory also has explored the genetic basis of additional ecologically relevant phenotypes, including reproductive traits, such as sperm morphology and performance, driven by sexual selection. Finally, in recent years, her group has identified genes that affect behavior, and has used those genes to uncover the neurobiological and evolutional mechanisms driving behavioral evolution. Her research spans the fields of ecology, evolution, behavior, genetics, genomics, development and neurobiology, and is typified by its integrative nature ? working in both the lab and field to make connections between genotype, phenotype and fitness.

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