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Lila Fishman, Associate Professor

Location: Health Sciences 309

Phone: (406) 243-5166


Plant Evolutionary Genetics



Swarthmore College, B.A. 1991 (Biology and Art History)
Princeton University, Ph.D. 1998 (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology)

Research Interests

I am interested in the genetic mechanisms and evolutionary processes underlying ecologically relevant traits. My research program addresses three fundamental questions about the nature of variation in natural plant populations. What forces maintain variation within populations? What is the genetic basis of adaptive divergence? How are populations transformed into reproductively isolated species? Current research in the lab focuses on understanding patterns of phenotypic and genetic variation in the diverse genus Mimulus (monkeyflowers), an emerging model system for investigating the genetics and genomics of adaptation and speciation. This work uses a combination of traditional genetics, field and greenhouse experiments, and genome-enabled mapping, cloning, and molecular population genetics approaches.

Active research areas in the Fishman Lab include:

1. Mechanisms and consequences of selfish chromosomal evolution

2. Post-zygotic barriers, particularly Dobzhansky-Muller incompatibilities and cytonuclear male sterility

3. Floral and mating system divergence, particularly the evolution of self-pollination

4. Local adaptation, including flowering time evolution, adaptation to thermal soils, and interactions with soil biota

I am currently recruiting graduate students interested in using genetic and genomic approaches to investigate plant adaptation and speciation. Potential research topics include those listed above, but we particularly welcome applicants with the desire and ability to develop independent research projects within the broader context of plant evolutionary genetics.

Selected Publications

Fishman, L. and A. Saunders. 2008. Centromere–associated femael meiotic drive entails male fitness costs in monkeyflowers. Science 322: 1599-1602.

Fishman, L., J. Tuthill, and J. E. Aagaard. 2008. The evolutionary genomics of the gametophyte stage: Patterns of transmission ratio distortion in monkeyflower (Mimulus) hybrids reveal a complex genetic basis for conspecific pollen precedence. Evolution, in press.

Fishman, L. and J. H. Willis. 2008. Pollen limitation and natural selection on floral characters in the yellow monkeyflower, Mimulus guttatus. New Phytologist 177: 802-810.

Fishman, L. and J. H. Willis. 2006. A cytonuclear incompatibility causes anther sterility in Mimulus hybrids. Evolution 60: 1372-1381.

Sweigart, A. L., L. Fishman, and J. H. Willis. 2006. A simple genetic incompatibility causes hybrid male sterility in Mimulus. Genetics 172: 2465-2479.

Fishman, L. and J. H. Willis. 2005. A novel meiotic drive locus near-completely distorts segregation in Mimulus (monkeyflower) hybrids. Genetics 169:347-358.

Fishman, L., A. J. Kelly, and J. H. Willis. 2002. Minor QTLs underlie floral characters associated with mating system divergence in Mimulus. Evolution 56:2138-2155.

Fishman, L., A. J. Kelly, E. Morgan, and J. H. Willis. 2001. A genetic map in the Mimulus guttatus species complex reveals transmission ratio distortion due to heterospecific interactions. Genetics 159:1701-1716.


Fishman, L. and D. A. Stratton. 2004. The genetics of floral divergence and postzygotic barriers between outcrossing and selfing populations of Arenaria unifora (Caryophyllaceae). Evolution 58(2): 296–307.

Fishman, L. and J.H. Willis. 2001. Evidence for Dobzhansky-Muller incompatibilities contributing to the sterility of hybrids between Mimulus guttatus and M. nasutus. Evolution 55:1932-1942.

Fishman, L. 2001. Inbreeding depression in two populations of Arenaria uniflora (Caryophyllaceae) with contrasting mating systems. Heredity 86: 177-183.

Fishman, L. 2000. Pollen discounting and the evolution of autogamy in Arenaria uniflora (Caryophyllaceae). Evolution 54: 1558-1565.

Fishman, L. and R. Wyatt. 1999. Pollinator-mediated competition, reproductive character displacement, and the evolution of selfing in Arenaria uniflora (Caryophyllaceae). Evolution 53: 1723-1733.