Dr. Kelly studies evolutionary theory with applications to quantitative genetics and molecular population genetics..
A common but incorrect belief is that biological evolution occurs too slowly to observe. For this reason, most applications of evolutionary theory are historical in nature. A theory is tested by comparing its predictions to extant patterns of variation in nature, either within or across species. These tests can be convincing, but the most direct way to test any scientific theory is to develop an explicit prediction for what should happen and then see if this does happen. In situations where the genetic composition of a population changes at a rapid pace, it is possible to directly test the dynamical predictions of evolutionary models. One of my primary research interests is to construct and test models that predict observable changes in the genetic composition of populations. My laboratory investigates a number of questions in evolutionary genetics, but the most basic is why everyone is different from everyone else. Extensive individual variation is the rule in nature. Oftentimes, a substantial fraction of this variation has a genetic basis. If natural selection tends to favor an optimal genotype, then why do so many different genotypes persist? A current objective of the “Kelly lab” is to adapt recently developed genomic technologies to address this classical question. Most of our experimental work (field and laboratory) focuses on Mimulus guttatus, but we collaborate on projects involving insects, mice, and a great diversity of plant species.
- .Brown, K. E., & Kelly, J. K. 2020. Severe inbreeding depression is predicted by the “rare allele load” in Mimulus guttatus. Evolution 74(3), 587-596. doi:10.1111/evo.13876
- Colicchio, J., Monnahan, P., Wessinger, C. A., Keely, B., Kern, J. R., and Kelly, J. K. 2020. Individualized mating system estimation using genomic data. Molecular Ecology Resources 20:333-347. doi:10.1111/1755-0998.13094
- Kelly, J. K. and K. A. Hughes. 2019. Pervasive Linked Selection and Intermediate-Frequency Alleles Are Implicated in an Evolve-and-Resequencing Experiment of Drosophila simulans. Genetics 211(3): 943-961.
- Troth, A., J.R Puzey, R.S. Kim, J.H. Willis, J.K. Kelly. 2018. Selective tradeoffs maintain alleles underpinning complex trait variation in plants. Science, Vol. 361, Issue 6401, pp. 475-478.
- Monnahan, P., J. Colicchio, and J.K. Kelly. 2015. A genomic selection component analysis characterizes migration-selection balance. Evolution, 69(7): 1713–1727.
- Monnahan, P., and John K. Kelly. 2015. Epistasis Is a Major Determinant of the Additive Genetic Variance in Mimulus guttatus. PLoS Genetics, 11(5): e1005201. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1005201