Associate Professor
Graduate Coordinator, Genetics
Ph.D. (2004) University of Rochester

Contact Info

Dyer Lab Website

Research Interests:   Evolutionary genetics in Drosophila

What shapes genetic and phenotypic diversity in natural populations? We are broadly interested in the interaction between evolution, genetics, and ecology. The first main topic of research in the lab is how organisms adapt to their environment. We study the genetic basis of ecologically important traits and how evolutionary forces such as selection and gene flow interact in the processes of adaptation and speciation. The second main topic of research is how the genetic environment affects gene evolution. For example, factors such as the pattern of inheritance, the level of recombination, and the presence of selection at nearby genes can have significant consequences for how a gene responds to selection. To address these questions we take an integrative approach, and combine molecular techniques and classical Drosophila genetics with theoretical modeling, behavioral observations, and field studies. We use various species of Drosophila because they are tractable in both genetic and ecological studies.

Of Note:

  • Graduate Coordinator, UGA Department of Genetics, 2016 - Current
  • Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2017
  • Associate Editor, PLoS Genetics, 2017 - Current
  • Secretary, American Genetics Association, 2017-2019
  • Council Member, Society for the Study of Evolution, 2014-2017
  • Council Member, European Society for Evolutionary Biology, 2013-2017
  • CAREER Award, National Science Foundation, 2012
  • Council Member, American Genetics Association, 2011-2013
  • Associate Editor, Evolution, 2010-2012
  • Lilly Teaching Fellow, 2009-2011
  • New Scholar in Aging, Ellison Medical Foundation, 2009
  • Reviewing Editor, Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 2009-2012

Current Grant Support:

  • "Dimensions: Collaborative research: Integrating phylogenetic, genetic, and functional approaches to dissect the role of toxin tolerance in shaping Drosophila biodiversity."  (NSF, with L. Reed, C. Scott Chialvo, and T. Werner)
  • "CAREER: Evolutionary genetics of mate discrimination in the fly Drosophila subquinaria," (NSF)
  • "The impacts of the distribution of phenotypic effects and the distribution of pleiotropic costs on the genetics of natural adaptations" (NSF, with C. Jones and P. Volkan)
Research Areas:
Research Interests:

Population genetics and molecular evolution; genetic basis of adaptation and speciation; intragenomic conflict and selfish genetic elements; host-parasite interactions; insect ecology and evolution

Selected Publications:
  • Dyer, K. A.*, E. R. Bewick*, B. E. White, M. J. Bray, and D. P. Humphreys. 2018. Fine scale geographic patterns and consequences of reinforcing selection in natural populations of Drosophila subquinaria and Drosophila recens. Molecular Ecology 27: 3655-3670. (* equal contribution)

  • Pieper, K. E. and K. A. Dyer. 2018. Meiotic Drive. Oxford Bibliographies in Evolutionary Biology.

  • Pieper, K. E. and K. A. Dyer. 2016. Occasional recombination may allow a selfish sex-ratio X-chromosome to persist at high frequencies in the wild. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 29: 2229-2241.  

  • Lindholm, A. K., K. A. Dyer, R. C. Firman, et al. 2016. The ecology and evolutionary dynamics of meiotic drive. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 31: 315-326.

  • Humphreys, D. P., H. D. Rundle, and K. A. Dyer. 2016. Patterns of reproductive isolation in the Drosophila subquinaria complex: Can reinforced premating isolation cascade to other species? Current Zoology 62: 183-191.  

  • Rundle, H. D. and K. A. Dyer. 2015. Reproductive character displacement of female mate preferences for male cuticular hydrocarbons in Drosophila subquinaria. Evolution 69: 2625-2637.

  • Conn, C. E., R. Bythell-Douglas, D. Neumann, S. Yoshida, B. Whittington, J. H. Westwood, K. Shirasu, C. S. Bond, K. A. Dyer, and D. C. Nelson. 2015. Convergent evolution enabled host detection in parasitic plants. Science 349: 540-543.

  • Arthur, N. J., and K. A. Dyer. 2015. Asymmetrical sexual isolation but no postmating isolation between the closely related species Drosophila suboccidentalis and D. occidentalis. BMC Evolutionary Biology 15:38.

  • Bewick, E. R., and K. A. Dyer. 2014. Reinforcement shapes clines in mate discrimination in Drosophila subquinaria. Evolution 68: 3082-3094.

  • Dyer, K. A., B. E. White, J. Sztepanacz, E. R. Bewick, and H. D. Rundle. 2014. Reproductive character displacement of epicuticular compounds and their contribution to mate choice in Drosophila subquinaria and D. recens. Evolution 68: 1163-1175.

  • Pinzone, C. P., and K. A. Dyer. 2013. Higher polyandry is associated with lower prevalence of sex-ratio drive in natural populations of Drosophila neotestacea. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B 280: 20131397.

  • Debban, C. L., and K. A. Dyer.  2013. No evidence for behavioral adaptations to nematode parasitism by the fly Drosophila putrida. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 8: 1646-1654.     

  • Giglio, E.M. and K.A. Dyer. 2013. Divergence of premating behaviors in the sister species Drosophila subquinaria and D. recens. Ecology and Evolution 3: 365-374.      
  • Dyer, K.A., M.J. Bray, and S.J. Lopez. 2012. Genomic conflict drives patterns of X-linked population structure in Drosophila neotestacea. Molecular Ecology 22: 157-169.     
  • Dyer, K.A. 2012. Local selection underlies the geographic distribution of sex-ratio drive in Drosophila neotestacea. Evolution 66: 973-984.   
  • Dyer, K.A., C. Burke, and J. Jaenike. 2011. Wolbachia-mediated persistence of mtDNA from a potentially extinct species. Molecular Ecology 20: 2805-2817.     
  • Dyer, K.A., B.E. White, M.J. Bray, D.G. Piqué, and A.J. Betancourt. 2011. Molecular evolution of a Y chromosome to autosome gene duplication in Drosophila. Molecular Biology and Evolution 28: 1293-1306.     

Seminars by Kelly Dyer

Life Sciences - B118

Articles Featuring Kelly Dyer

Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 11:09am

Three UGA faculty members have been named recipients of the Richard B. Russell Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the university's highest early career teaching honor.