Kenneth M. Olsen, Ph.D.


Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology Program
Plant and Microbial Biosciences Program

  • 314-935-7013

  • 314-935-7151

  • 314-935-5125

  • 1137

  • 303 McDonnell Hall, Danforth Campus

  • KOlsen@WUSTL.EDU


  • evolution, genetics, plant biology, population genetics, molecular evolution

  • Plant evolutionary biology, molecular population genetics, genetics of adaptation, phylogeography

Research Abstract:

My research focuses on the genetic basis of evolution in plant species: how is the genetic variation that we find within a species shaped by natural selection, population history, and other evolutionary forces? One way that I look at this question is by using crop domestication as a model for rapid evolutionary change. The wealth of genetic and genomic information available for crops makes it possible to directly examine the molecular evolution of genes underlying traits that have been selected upon during domestication. In my lab we also study the evolutionary genetics of wild species. Topics of interest include the genetic basis of adaptive variation, evolutionary genomics of weedy crop relatives, and the forces affecting genome-wide patterns of linkage disequilibrium and nucleotide diversity.

Selected Publications:

Olsen, K.M., N.J. Kooyers, and L.L. Small (2014). Adaptive gains through repeated gene loss: parallel evolution of cyanogenesis polymorphisms in the genus Trifolium (Fabaceae). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, in press.

Larson, G., D.R. Piperno, R. Allaby, M. Purugganan, L. Andersson et al. (2014). Current perspectives and the future of domestication studies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 111: 6139-6146.

Doust, A.N.‡, L. Lukens‡, K.M. Olsen‡, M. Mauro-Herrera, A. Meyer, and K. Rogers (2014). Beyond the single gene: how epistasis and gene-by environment effects influence crop domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 111: 6178-6183.

Kooyers, N.J., L.R. Gage, A. Al-Lozi, and K.M. Olsen (2014). Aridity shapes cyanogenesis cline evolution in white clover (Trifolium repens L.). Molecular Ecology, 23: 1053-1070. doi: 10.1111/mec.12666

Kooyers, N.J. and K.M. Olsen (2013). Searching for the bull’s-eye: agents and targets of selection vary among geographically disparate cyanogenesis clines in white clover (Trifolium repens L.). Heredity 111: 495–504. doi: 10.1038/hdy.2013.71

Vigueira, C.C., W. Li, and K.M. Olsen (2013). The role of Bh4 in parallel evolution of hull color in domesticated and weedy rice. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26: 1738-49. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12171

Olsen, K.M. and J.F. Wendel (2013). A bountiful harvest: genomic insights into crop domestication phenotypes. Annual Review of Plant Biology 64: 47–70.

Olsen, K.M., N.J. Kooyers, and L.L. Small (2013). Recurrent gene deletions and the evolution of adaptive cyanogenesis polymorphisms in white clover (Trifolium repens L.). Molecular Ecology 22: 724-738.

Vigueira, C.C., K.M. Olsen, and A.L. Caicedo. (2013). The red queen in the corn: agricultural weeds as models of rapid adaptive evolution. Heredity 110: 303-311.

Trejo, L., P. Feria, K.M. Olsen, L.E. Eguiarte, B. Arroyo, J.A. Gruhn, and M.E. Olson (2012). Poinsettia`s wild ancestor in the Mexican dry tropics: historical, genetic, and environmental evidence. American Journal of Botany 99: 1146-1157.

Olsen, K.M. (2012). One gene`s shattering effects. Nature Genetics 44: 616-617.

Kooyers, N.J. and K.M. Olsen (2012). Rapid evolution of an adaptive cyanogenesis cline in introduced North American white clover (Trifolium repens L.). Molecular Ecology 21: 2455-2468.

Last Updated: 8/8/2014 9:15:43 AM

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