Royal Ontario Museum
Web Page: http://labs.eeb.utoronto.ca/abaker/
Professor Allan Baker, a valued member of, and contributor to our department passed away November 20, 2014.
Biodiversity & Systematics Genetics;
Genomics & Molecular Evolution;
Ecology of Populations, Communities & Ecosystems
Study Organisms: Animals
Research in Professor Baker's laboratory was focused on genetic population structure and its relationship to speciation in vertebrates. PCR amplification of DNA regions in mitochondrial and nuclear DNA and direct sequencing provide the raw data to quantify mutation rates, gene flow, effective population sizes, Founder effects, genetic drift, and selection pressures operating on different DNA sequences. These parameters are then used to infer the evolutionary histories of lineages isolated on islands or in connected demes on continents, and ultimately to test theories of speciation. Sequence data are also used to study rates and mechanisms of molecular evolution among vertebrate taxa, and to construct phylogenies for molecular systematic studies of birds, mammals and fishes. Patterns and rates of morphological, behavioural, and genetic divergence are used to compare biological and cultural evolution.