Biosciences Graduate Program

John Logsdon, BS, PhD


Associate Professor of Biology

Contact Information

Primary Office: BB 310
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-1082

Office: 310 BB
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-082

Web: More About Dr. Logsdon - Related Websites and Resources


BS, Biology & Psychology, Iowa State University
Mol. Evol. & Pop. Gen, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
PhD, Genetics Biochem. Minor, Indiana University

Post Doctorate, Molecular Evolution, DALHOUSIE UNIV

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Informatics
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Translational Biomedicine
Medical Scientist Training Program

Research Summary

Evolutionary Molecular Genetics My research interests are generally in the molecular genetic aspects of evolution with a focus on the origin and early evolution of eukaryotes and their genomes, and how they differ from prokaryotes. My laboratory has a clear evolutionary emphasis, combining experimental molecular biology and computer-based bioinformatic approaches, along with a phylogenetic framework and the comparative method. In particular, we are studying two main problems: • The origin and evolution of meiosis and meiotic recombination using comparative molecular genetic approaches. • The evolutionary relationships among diverse eukaryotes--mainly protists--using protein gene phylogenies. The genes with which we have initiated our studies of meiosis are eukaryotic homologs of the bacterial recombination protein recA, in yeast called Rad51 and Dmc1. The Dmc1 gene encodes a meiosis-specific version of the recombinase. We are determining the evolutionary history of this gene in a diversity of eukaryotes (mainly protists) and using it to trace the evolution of meiosis itself. We are also expanding this comparative study to include additional genes involved in other aspects of meiosis, including those genes also implicated in various aspects of DNA repair. For the studies of eukaryotic phylogeny per se, we are using conserved protein coding genes, including the RNA polymerase II large subunits, to investigate the thorny question of ""deep branching"" eukaryotes. The phylogenetic tree of eukaryotes that is emerging will provide a critical framework for making appropriate evolutionary comparisons among eukaryotic species, genomes and genes. We are also beginning some work on the genomics of protists (mainly parasitic species to start), including bioinformatic approaches. This is part of an international collaboration funded by NSERC (Canada); the co-PI's are Andrew Roger at Dalhousie University (Canada), T. Martin Embley at the Natural History Museum (England) and Mark Ragan at Queensland University (Australia). I have a long-term, currently theoretical, interest in the origins and evolution of introns and splicing, some bioinformatic aspects of which we are pursuing in collaboration with Mark Borodovsky at Georgia Tech. Finally, we are also exploring the prevalence of lateral (or horizontal) gene transfer, and trying to understand its impact on genome evolution and phylogenetic reconstruction.

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48