Michael F. Palopoli

Professor of Biology

Michael F. Palopoli

Contact Information


Druckenmiller Hall - 130D

Teaching this semester

BIOL 2316. Evolution

Examines one of the most breathtaking ideas in the history of science -- that all life on this planet descended from a common ancestor. An understanding of evolution illuminates every subject in biology, from molecular biology to ecology. Provides a broad overview of evolutionary ideas, including the modern theory of evolution by natural selection, evolution of sexual reproduction, patterns of speciation and macro-evolutionary change, evolution of sexual dimorphisms, selfish genetic elements, and kin selection. Laboratory sessions are devoted to semester-long, independent research projects.


  • B.S. Psychology, University of Michigan, 1987
  • M.S. Biology, University of Michigan, 1989
  • Ph.D. Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago, 1995

Teaching Area

  • Evolutionary Biology

Research Interests

  • My teaching and research interests are centered within the field of evolutionary genetics. Current research projects include: testing models of antagonistic coevolution by studying populations of nematodes that have evolved under different mating conditions; developing transgenic technology in fruit flies in order to test hypotheses about the function of non-coding DNA (collaboration with Jack Bateman); and using mitochondrial genome sequences to investigate the coevolutionary relationships between follicle mites and their mammalian hosts.

Selected Publications

(* indicates Bowdoin College undergraduate coauthor)

Palopoli MF, Peden C, Woo C*, Akiha K*, Ary M, Cruze L, Anderson JL, and Phillips PC. 2015. Natural and experimental evolution of sexual conflict within Caenorhabditis nematodes. BMC Evol Biol 15:93

Palopoli MF, Minot S*, Pei D*, Satterly A*, and Endrizzi J*. 2014. Complete mitochondrial genomes of the human follicle mites Demodex brevis and D. folliculorum: novel gene arrangement, truncated tRNA genes, and ancient divergence between species. BMC Genomics 15:1124.

Bateman JR, Palopoli MF, Dale ST*, Stauffer JE*, Shah AL*, Johnson JE, Walsh CW*, Flaten H*, and Parsons CM*. 2013. Captured segment exchange: a strategy for custom engineering large genomic regions in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 193:421-30.

Palopoli MF, Rockman MV, TinMaung A*, Ramsay C*, Curwen S*, Aduna A*, Laurita J*, and Kruglyak L. 2008. Molecular basis of the copulatory plug polymorphism in Caenorhabditis elegans. Nature 454: 1019-1022.)

Prachumwat A*, DeVincentis L*, and Palopoli MF. 2004. Intron size correlates positively with recombination rate in Caenorhabditis elegans. Genetics 166:1585-90.

Graustein A*, Walters J*, Gaspar J*, and Palopoli MF. 2002. Levels of DNA polymorphism vary with mating systems in the nematode genus Caenorhabditis. Genetics 161: 99-107.

Suzuki Y* and Palopoli MF. 2001. Evolution of insect abdominal appendages: Are prolegs homologous or convergent traits? Development, Genes, and Evolution 211: 486-492.
Suzuki Palopoli2001

Palopoli MF. 2000. Genetic partners in crime: Evolution of an ultraselfish supergene that specializes in sperm sabotage. Pp. 113-116 in Wolf, J, ED Brodie III, and MJ Wade, (eds.) Epistasis and the Evolutionary Process. Oxford Press, Oxford.

Palopoli MF and Patel NH. 1998. Evolution of the interaction between Hox genes and a downstream target. Current Biology 8: 587-590.

yoda - used with permission