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University of Oregon

Patrick Phillips

Lab Website

Research Interests

We are interested in answering the question: “what makes organisms the way that they are?” To this end, our lab focuses on understanding the genotype-phenotype map: how genetic information contained within DNA is translated into the whole organism that interacts in the real world. We use the model nematode C. elegans and its relatives to pursue the molecular genetics of this map for traits such as body size, reproductive success, sexual interactions, longevity, and the behavioral response to temperature and chemicals. The other part to this answer is understanding how the genetic system itself is molded by the evolutionary process. To investigate this, we use experimental evolution and whole genome analysis within laboratory populations of nematodes to identify the genetic basis of the response to selection, and theoretical approaches to study the evolution of gene interaction systems and suites of coevolving traits. We also explore a wide variety of questions in evolutionary genetics, including the role that sexual reproduction and outcrossing play in shaping the pattern of genetic variation and influencing the rate of evolutionary change within natural populations.

Selected Publications

Baltrus, D.A., K. Gullemin, and P.C. Phillips. 2008. Genetic exchange increases the rate of adaptation in the human pathogen Helicobacter pylori. Evolution 62:39-49.

Anderson, J.L., L. Albergotti, S. Proulx, C. Peden, R.B. Huey, and P.C. Phillips. 2007. Thermal preference in Caenorhabditis elegans: a null model and empirical tests. Journal of Experimental Biology 210:3107-3116..

Teotónio, H., D. Maneol, and P.C. Phillips. 2006. Genetic variation for outcrossing among Caenorhabditis elegans isolates. Evolution 60:1300-1305.

Kaplan, R.H., and P.C. Phillips. 2006. Ecological and developmental context of morphology, performance, and fitness: maternal effects and thermally induced plasticity in the frog Bombina orientalis. Evolution 60:142-156.

Phillips, P.C., and K.L. McGuigan. 2006. Evolution of genetic variance-covariance structure. In C. Fox and J. Wolf (eds.), Evolutionary Genetics: Concepts and Case Studies. Oxford University Press. Oxford, England.

Proulx, S., D. Promislow, and P.C. Phillips. 2005. Network thinking in ecology and evolution. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20:345-353


Bi 484/584 Molecular Evolution
Bi 610 Quantitative Methods in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology