Research Summary and Goals
My laboratory is involved in two major areas of research: gene mapping and evolutionary genetics. Our gene-mapping efforts focus on finding genetic mutations that cause limb malformation syndromes. Currently, we are working on several of these syndromes, including distal arthrogryposis, Freeman-Sheldon syndrome, Gordon syndrome, ectrodactyly, and ulnar ray deficiency/postaxial polydactyly. The genetic basis of these syndromes is poorly understood. As our research pinpoints the responsible genes, our understanding of disease etiology will increase.
Our evolutionary genetic research involves analyzing worldwide genetic variation in human mitochondrial and nuclear DNA (including the Y chromosome). We are using these data to test a variety of evolutionary hypotheses, including the controversial proposition that modern Homo sapiens originated in Africa and then replaced archaic human populations in other parts of the world.