Daven Presgraves is an evolutionary geneticist and assistant professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Rochester. He uses classical, molecular, and population genetics to study the evolution of selfish genes, the interaction between natural selection and recombination, and the genetics of speciation—the process by which new species originate.
As a Radcliffe fellow, Presgraves will focus on the special role of sex chromosomes in speciation. In a wide range of animals, from insects to mammals, the genetic changes underlying speciation appear to accumulate preferentially on the X chromosome. Presgraves will combine genetic mapping and comparative genomics approaches to determine why the X is a hot spot for speciation genes in two closely related species of Drosophila fruit flies.
Presgraves received his BS from the University of Maryland at College Park and his PhD from the University of Rochester. His honors include the Theodosius Dobzhansky Prize from the Society for the Study of Evolution, a research fellowship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the John Maynard Smith Prize from the European Society for Evolutionary Biology, and election to the Balfour Lecture at the Genetics Society of the United Kingdom. His work is funded by the National Institutes of Health.