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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.T. Domyan, M.D. Shapiro. (2017) Pigeonetics takes flight: Evolution, development, and genetics of intraspecific variation. Developmental Biology 427: 241-250.
  • E.F. Boer, H.F. Van Hollebecke, M.D. Shapiro. (2017) Genomic determinants of epidermal appendage patterning and structure in domestic birds. Developmental Biology. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2017.03.022.
  • E.T. Domyan, M.D. Shapiro. Pigeonetics takes flight: evolution, development, and genetics of intraspecific variation. Developmental Biology: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.11.008.
  • 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.
  • A.I. Vickrey, E.T. Domyan, M.P. Horvath, M.D. Shapiro. (2015) Convergent evolution of head crests in two domesticated columbids is associated with different missense mutations in EphB2. Molecular Biology and Evolution 32: 2657-2664.
  • Z. Kronenberg, E.J. Osborne, K. Cone, E. Domyan, M.D. Shapiro, N. Elde, M, Yandell. (2015) Wham: Identifying Structural Variants of Biological Consequence. PLoS Computational Biology 11: e1004572.
  • S.A. Stringham and M.D. Shapiro. (2015) Microevolution and the genetic basis of vertebrate diversity: examples from teleost fishes. Pp. 333-350, in K.P. Dial, N.H. Shubin, E.L. Brainerd (eds.) Great Transformations in Vertebrate Evolution. University of Chicago Press.
  • E.T. Domyan, M.W. Guernsey, Z. Kronenberg, S. Krishnan, R.E. Boissy, A. Vickrey, C. Rodgers, P. Cassidy, S.A. Leachman, J.W. Fondon III, M. Yandell, M.D. Shapiro. (2014) Epistatic and combinatorial effects of pigmentary gene mutations in the domestic pigeon. Current Biology 24: 459-464.
  • C.T. Miller, A.M. Glazer, B.R. Summers, B.K. Blackman, A.R. Norman, M.D. Shapiro, B.L. Cole, C.L. Peichel, D. Schluter, D.M. Kingsley. (2014) Additive and clustered quantitative trait loci control anatomically regional skeletal evolution in sticklebacks. Genetics 197: 405-420.

Courses Taught


  • Biol 5510: Evolutionary Developmental Biology