Michael F. Palopoli

Professor of Biology

Michael F. Palopoli

Contact Information


Druckenmiller Hall - 130D

Teaching this semester

BIOL 1109. Scientific Reasoning in Biology, A

Lectures examine fundamental biological principles, from the sub-cellular to the ecosystem level with an emphasis on critical thinking and the scientific method. Laboratory sessions will help develop a deeper understanding of the techniques and methods used in the biological science by requiring students to design and conduct their own experiments. Lecture and weekly laboratory/discussion groups. To ensure proper placement, students must take the biology placement examination and must be recommended for placement in Biology 1109.

BIOL 3317. Molecular Evolution

Examines the dynamics of evolutionary change at the molecular level. Topics include neutral theory of molecular evolution, rates and patterns of change in nucleotide sequences and proteins, molecular phylogenetics, and genome evolution. Students read and discuss papers from the scientific literature.


  • 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