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Nathan Clark

Associate Professor of Human Genetics

Evolution, Genomics, Phylogenetics, Adaptation, Vision, Diving


Clark Photo


Molecular Biology Program


B.S. University of Texas at Austin

Ph.D. University of Washington, Seattle



My group is focused on the process of Adaptive Evolution, during which species adopt novel traits to overcome challenges. We study the evolutionary patterns of genomic elements to determine the genetic changes underlying adaptive evolution and to discover previously unknown genetic networks. These discoveries have already led to advances in human health, species conservation, and basic molecular biology. To meet these goals we have developed a suite of computational and experimental approaches employing comparative genomics, proteomics, and zebrafish genetics. Ultimately, our research program develops an evolutionary model in which genomic elements are shaped by their co-evolution with other elements, their environment, and interactions between the sexes.


  1. Kowalczyk A, Partha R, Clark NL, Chikina M. Pan-mammalian analysis of molecular constraints underlying extended lifespan. eLife. 2020; 9: e51089.
  2. Meyer WK, Jamison J, Richter R, Woods SE, Partha R, Kowalczyk A, Kronk C, Chikina M, Bonde RK, Crocker DE, Gaspard J, Lanyon JM, Marsillach J, Furlong CE, Clark NL. Ancient convergent losses of PON1 yield deleterious consequences for modern marine mammals. Science. 2018; 361(6402): 591-594. doi:10.1126/science.aap7714
  3.  Partha R, Chauhan BK, Worman-Ferreria ZRobinson JD, Lathrop K, Nischal KK, Chikina M*, Clark NL*. Subterranean mammals show convergent regression in ocular genes and enhancers, along with adaptation to tunneling. eLife. 2017; 6: e25884.
  4.  Meslin CCherwin TS, Plakke MS, Small BS, Goetz BJ, Morehouse NI, Clark NL. Structural complexity and molecular heterogeneity of a butterfly ejaculate reflect a complex history of selection. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. 2017; 114(27):  E5406–E5413. PMC5502654. Featured in The Atlantic.
  5.  Chikina M, Robinson JDClark NL. Hundreds of genes experienced convergent shifts in selective pressure in marine mammals. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 2016. 33(9): 2182-2192. 
  6.  Priedigkeit NM, Wolfe NW, Clark NL. Evolutionary signatures amongst disease genes permit novel methods for gene prioritization and construction of informative gene networks. PLOS Genetics. 2015; 11(2): e1004967. PMC4334549
Last Updated: 7/14/22