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Kelly Dyer

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Director, Integrated Life Sciences Program
Director, NIH T32 Genetics Training Grant
Ph.D. (2004) University of Rochester

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 combine genomic 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:

  • Director, Integrated Life Sciences Program, 2023 - Current
  • Director, NIH T32 Genetics Training Grant, 2020 - Current
  • Graduate Coordinator, Department of Genetics, 2016 - 2023
  • UGA Teaching Academy, Class of 2019
  • Richard B. Russell Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, 2017
  • Senior Editor, PLoS Genetics, 2023 - Current
  • Associate Editor, GENETICS, 2021 - Current
  • Associate Editor, PLoS Genetics, 2017 - 2023
  • 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

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)
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. and D. W. Hall. 2019. Fitness consequences of a non-recombining sex-ratio drive chromosome can explain its prevalence in the wild. Proceedings of the Royal Society, Series B 286: 20192529.
  • Ginsberg, P. S., D. P. Humphreys, and K. A. Dyer. 2019. Ongoing hybridization obscures phylogenetic relationships in the Drosophila subquinaria species complex. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 32: 1093-1105.
  • Scott Chialvo, C.H., B. E. White, L. K. Reed, and K. A. Dyer. 2019. A phylogenetic examination of host use evolution in the quinaria and testacea groups of Drosophila. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 130: 233-243. 
  • Pieper, K. E., R. L. Unckless, and K. A. Dyer. 2018. A fast-evolving X-linked duplicate of importin-a2 is overexpressed in sex-ratio drive in Drosophila neotestacea. Molecular Ecology 27: 5165-5179.
  • 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.
Events featuring Kelly Dyer
Life Sciences - B118
Articles Featuring Kelly Dyer

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.

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