About the Author

Jerry Coyne

Jerry A. Coyne, Ph.D is a Professor in the Department of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and a member of both the Committee on Genetics and the Committee on Evolutionary Biology. Coyne received a B.S. in Biology from the College of William and Mary. He then earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary biology at Harvard University in 1978, working in the laboratory of Richard Lewontin. After a postdoctoral fellowship in Timothy Prout's laboratory at The University of California at Davis, he took his first academic position as assistant professor in the Department of Zoology at The University of Maryland. In 1996 he joined the faculty of The University of Chicago.

Coyne's work is focused on understanding the origin of species: the evolutionary process that produces discrete groups in nature. To do this, he uses a variety of genetic analyses to locate and identify the genes that produce reproductive barriers between distinct species of the fruit fly Drosophila: barriers like hybrid sterility, ecological differentiation, and mate discrimination. Through finding patterns in the location and action of such genes, he hopes to work out the evolutionary processes that originally produced genetic change, and to determine whether different pairs of species may show similar genetic patterns, implying similar routes to speciation.

Coyne has written over 115 refereed scientific papers and 130 other articles, book reviews, and columns, as well as a scholarly book about his field (Speciation, co-authored with H. Allen Orr). He is a frequent contributor to The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement, and other popular periodicals.