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Michael Shapiro

James E. Talmage Presidential Endowed Chair in Biology & Adjunct Professor of Human Genetics

Ph.D. Harvard University


Graduate Program Membership:

Office/Building: Biol 325
Phone: 801-581-5690
Email: shapiro@biology.utah.edu
Shapiro Lab: http://shapiro.biology.utah.edu/

Research Statement


What are the genetic and developmental origins of unique traits in different populations and species of vertebrates? In most cases of skeletal evolution, we do not know how many genes are involved, which genes are actually responsible for morphological change, whether alterations to these genes affect coding or regulatory regions, or whether the same genes are involved repeatedly in the evolution of similar traits in different populations and species. Our work addresses these major issues using stickleback fish and pigeons as model organisms.

Research Interests


General Interests
Specific Interests
  • Evolutionary genetics of stickleback fish
  • Genetic basis of diversity among domesticated pigeons
  • Evolutionary developmental biology

Selected Publications


  • E.F. Boer, H.F. Van Hollebeke, E.T. Maclary, C. Holt, M. Yandell, M.D. Shapiro. (2021) A ROR2 coding variant is associated with craniofacial variation in domestic pigeons. Current Biology 32: 5069-5076.
  • E. Maclary, B. Phillips, R. Wauer, E. Boer, R. Bruders, T. Gilvarry, C. Holt, M. Yandell, M.D. Shapiro. (2021) Two Genomic Loci Control Three Eye Colors in the Domestic Pigeon (Columba livia). Molecular Biology and Evolution 38: 5376-5390.
  • E.F. Boer, E.T. Maclary, M.D. Shapiro. (2021) Complex genetic architecture of three-dimensional craniofacial shape variation in domestic pigeons. Evolution & Development 23: 477-495.
  • R. Bruders, H. Van Hollebeke, E.J. Osborne, Z. Kronenberg, M. Yandell, M.D. Shapiro. (2020) A copy number variant is associated with a spectrum of pigmentation patterns in the rock pigeon (Columba livia). PLoS Genetics, 16: e1008274.
  • E.F. Boer, H.F. Van Hollebeke, S. Park, C.R. Infante, D.B. Menke, M.D. Shapiro. (2019) Pigeon foot feathering reveals conserved limb identity networks. Developmental Biology, 454: 128-144
  • A.I. Vickrey, R. Bruders, Z. Kronenberg, E. Mackey, R.J. Bohlender, E. Maclary, R. Maynez, E.J. Osborne, K.P. Johnson, C.D. Huff, M. Yandell, M.D. Shapiro. (2018) Introgression of regulatory alleles and a missense coding mutation drive plumage pattern diversity in the rock pigeon. eLife 7: e34803.
  • E.T. Domyan, Z. Kronenberg, C. Infante, A.I. Vickrey, S.A. Stringham, R. Bruders, M.W. Guernsey, S. Park, J. Payne, R. Beckstead, G. Kardon, D.B. Menke, M. Yandell, M.D. Shapiro. (2016) Molecular shifts in limb identity underlie development of feathered feet in two domestic avian species. eLife 5: e12115.
  • M.D. Shapiro, Z. Kronenberg, C. Li, E.T. Domyan, H. Pan, M. Campbell, H. Tan, C.D. Huff, Haofu Hu, A.I. Vickrey, S.A. Nielsen, S.A. Stringham, Hao Hu, E. Willerslev, M.T.P. Gilbert, M. Yandell, G. Zhang, J. Wang. (2013) Genomic diversity and evolution of the head crest in the rock pigeon. Science 339: 1063-1067.
  • Full Publication List

Courses Taught


  • BIOL 5510: Genes, Development, and Evolution
  • H GEN 6091: Evolution & Development