James M. Cheverud
My research centers on evolutionary quantitative genetics and morphology. The research in quantitative genetics concerns the developmental and genetic constraints imposed on the rate and direction of evolution by heritable variation patterns and the evolution of genetic variation patterns themselves. Current and planned future projects in this area involve both empirical and theoretical studies of the evolution of genetic correlations; maternal effects and kin selection; the genetics of somatic growth; the inheritance of brain surface morphology, and the heritability, genetic correlation and evolution of primate craniofacial morphology. We are currently studying the morphological genetics and systematics of New World Monkey species, specifically tamarins and marmosets. This study involves the reconstruction of selection acting on craniofacial morphology. The tamarins and marmosets include several endangered species, and we are developing a quantitative genetic approach to captive population genetic surveys and management.
My laboratory has also been involved in studying both human and non-human primate craniofacial growth using advanced morphometric and data acquisition techniques, such as finite element scaling and three-dimensional reconstructions from CT scans. We have been studying artificially deformed human crania in order to understand the interrelationship of facial and neural growth.
We are also beginning an experimental study of the genetics of somatic growth, body composition, and morphology in mice. This study involves mapping the chromosomal locations of single genes with minor effects on growth and morphology using a combination of molecular and quantitative genetic techniques. We are particularly interested in pleiotropic, or manifold, effects of genes.
My major teaching effort is in Human Gross Anatomy in the School of Medicine. I also periodically teach a course in quantitative genetics and evolution.