Contact Dr. Morgan

239D Chalmers Hall
(785) 532-6126

Morgan Laboratory

Molecular Cellular Developmental Biology Web



Theodore Morgan

Associate Professor

Ph.D. 2002, Washington State University

Evolutionary & Ecological Quantitative Genetics

Research Focus

Research in my lab is motivated by the fact that most species are subdivided into finite systems of subpopulations and that the pattern of phenotypic and genetic variation within and among populations provides crucial information about evolutionary processes in nature.  Determining the relative roles of diverse evolutionary processes in population differentiation and local adaptation is has and remains one of the central questions in evolutionary biology.  Motivated by these facts my lab uses a combination of quantitative genetic, molecular genetic, candidate gene, genomic, and statistical approaches to investigate the evolution and genetic control of ecologically important phenotypes in nature.

Currently, my research focuses on the evolution and genetic control of these complex phenotypes in Drosophila.  Within Drosophila species numerous ecologically relevant and potentially adaptive phenotypes exist and exhibit complex patterns of genetic variation within and among populations and species.  One very interesting class of these phenotypes are the thermal and environmental-stress phenotypes as they exhibit large amounts of genetic variation within and among populations and exhibit patterns of phenotypic expression that correlate with environmental gradients in nature.  To disentangle the complex genetic architecture and understand the evolutionary processes influencing the variation within and among populations for these ecologically relevant phenotypes my lab uses a multifaceted approach to:

  1. Identify individual genes controlling these phenotypes.
  2. Determine if these individual genes contribute to segregating natural genetic variation. 
  3. Identify the individual molecular polymorphisms within these loci that contribute to phenotypic variation in nature.
  4. Characterize the function consequences of these polymorphisms through whole-genome, biochemical, population, and evolutionary analyses.   
  5. Describe the role of the environment and/or developmental stage on the expression and genetic control of these phenotypes.

Although, research in my lab has focused primarily on quantitative genetics in Drosophila, I have very broad interests in that span the entire field of evolutionary and ecological quantitative genetics.  If you are interested in the any aspect of evolutionary and ecological genetics, I encourage you to contact me regardless of your particular taxonomic allegiance.  More detailed information about my research program and lab can be found at the lab website below.

Selected Research Publications

Bronikowski, A.M., T.J. Morgan, T. Garland Jr. and P.A. Carter.  2006.  The evolution of aging and age-related physical decline in mice selectively bred for high-voluntary exercise. Evolution 60: 1494-1508.

Carbone, M.A., K.W. Jordan, R.F. Lyman, S.T. Harbison, J. Leips, T.J. Morgan, M. DeLuca, P. Awadalla, and T.F.C. Mackay.  2006.  Phenotypic variation and natural selection at Catsup, a pleiotropic quantitative trait gene in Drosophila. Current Biology 16: 912-919.

Edwards, A.C., S.M. Rollmann, T.J. Morgan, and T.F.C. Mackay.  2006.  Quantitative genomics of aggressive behavior in Drosophila melanogasterPLoS Genetics. in press.

Jordan, K.W., T.J. Morgan, T.F.C. Mackay.  2006.  Quantitative trait loci for locomotor behavior in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 174: xxx-xxx. AOP.

Morgan, T.J. and T.F.C. Mackay.  2006.  Quantitative trait loci for thermotolerance phenotypes in Drosophila melanogaster. Heredity 96: 232-242.

Rollmann, S.M., M.M. Magwire, T.J. Morgan, E.D. Özsoy, A. Yamamoto, T.F.C. Mackay, and R.R.H. Anholt.  2006.  Pleiotropic fitness effects of the Tre1/Gr5a region in Drosophila. Nature Genetics 38: 824-829.

Wilson, R.H., T.J. Morgan, and T.F.C. Mackay.  2006.  High-resolution mapping of quantitative trait loci affecting increased life span in Drosophila melanogaster.  Genetics 173: 1455-1463.

Mackay, T.F.C., S.L. Heinsohn, R.F. Lyman, A.J. Moehring, T.J.Morgan & S.M. Rollmann.  2005.  Genetics and genomics of Drosophila mating behavior. for joint publication: In J. Hey, W.M. Fitch, F.J. Ayala, eds. Systematics and the Orgin of the Species.  On Ernst Mayr’s 100th Anniversary. National Academies Press and PNAS 102: 6622-6629.

Morgan, T.J., M.A. Evans, T. Garland Jr., J.G. Swallow, and P.A. Carter.  2005.  Molecular and quantitative genetic divergence among populations of house mice with known evolutionary historiesHeredity 94: 518-525.

Bronikowski, A.M., P.A. Carter, T.J. Morgan, T. Garland Jr., N.E. Ung, T.D. Pugh, R. Weindruch, and T.A. Prolla.  2003.  Lifelong voluntary exercise prevents age-related alterations in gene expression in the heart. Physiological Genomics 12: 129-138.

Morgan, T.J., T. Garland Jr., and P.A. Carter.  2003.  Ontogenies in mice selected for high voluntary wheel running activity.  I.  Mean ontogenies. Evolution 57: 646-657.

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