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Dr. J.P. Masly

John P. Masly

Assistant Professor of Biology

Ph.D., University of Rochester
M.S., University of Rochester
B.S., Pennsylvania State University
405-325-5611 (Phone)
405-325-5998 (Lab)
405-325-6202 (Fax)
RH 420

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Speciation and phenotypic evolution are two important causes of biodiversity.  The goal of research in my lab is to characterize the genetic and developmental bases of these two evolutionary processes at the molecular level.  We use genetic, genomic, and molecular technologies available in the fruit fly,Drosophila,to understand how evolutionary change gives rise to phenotypic differences between closely related species.  Our work is fundamentally interdisciplinary, integrating molecular genetics, developmental biology, cell biology, and evolutionary biology.

Our current research focuses on two primary questions:

  •   What is the molecular basis of rapidly evolving genital morphology?  Male external genital structures show dramatic differences in size and shape among members of the D. melanogaster complex species.  We have fine-mapped several genomic regions that have large phenotypic effects between species, and we are currently pursuing functional studies to identify the genes that specify species-specific morphologies and study how change at these loci directs development to give rise to morphological differences.


  •   Do species-specific differences in genital morphology cause reproductive isolation?  We are investigating the contribution of genital morphology to sensory reproductive isolation among members of the D. melanogaster species complex by testing the consequences of interspecific variation in genital morphology on male reproductive success and female behavior.  In conjunction with these studies, we are also pursuing experiments aimed at understanding the evolution of species-specific nervous system architecture and function in both male and female genitalia.


  • Cooper, J.T. and J.P. Masly  (2013)  Speciation in Diatoms: Patterns, Mechanisms, and Environmental Change.  In, Speciation: Natural Processes, Genetics and Biodiversity. P. Michalak, ed. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., NY, p. 1-36.

  • Masly, J.P.  (2012) 170 years of "Lock-and-Key": Genital Morphology and Reproductive Isolation. International Journal of Evolutionary Biology 2012: Article ID 247352, doi:  10.1155/2012/247352.

  • Masly, J.P., J.E. Dalton, S. Srivastava, L. Chen, and M.N. Arbeitman.  (2011) The genetic basis of rapidly evolving male genital morphology in DrosophilaGenetics 189 (1): 357-374.

  • Tao, Y., J.P. Masly, L. Araripe, Y. Ke, and D.L. Hartl. (2007) A new sex-ratio meiotic drive system in Drosophila simulans.  I. Characterization of an autosomal suppressor. PLoS Biology 5 (11): e292 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050292.

  • Masly, J.P. and D.C. Presgraves. (2007) High-resolution genome-wide dissection of the two rules of speciation in DrosophilaPLoS Biology 5 (9): e243 doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0050243.

  • Masly, J.P., C.D. Jones, M.A.F. Noor, J. Locke and H.A. Orr. (2006) Gene transposition as a cause of hybrid sterility in DrosophilaScience 313: 1448-1450.