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Dr. Asher Cutter studies the genetic basis of evolutionary change by applying population genetic and molecular evolutionary theory.
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Dr. Asher Cutter studies the genetic basis of evolutionary change by applying population genetic and molecular evolutionary theory.
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Research
Dr. Asher Cutter and his research team are studying the genetic basis of evolutionary change. His research is focused on heritable changes through time with causes that are at the interface of natural selection and non-adaptive evolutionary forces, and involves the application of population genetic and molecular evolutionary theory. The variation in breeding system among Caenorhabditis species coupled with C. elegans' history as a model organism for genetics, genomics and development, provides a powerful, novel system for informing the understanding of the evolution of traits relevant to behaviour, physiology and ecology. A combination of approaches are used in the laboratory including computational analysis, molecular biological methods, experimental approaches, and construction of mathematical and simulation models. Reproduction is the primary metric of organismal fitness and, therefore, understanding variation in the mode of reproduction and its effects within and among species constitutes a central theme in biology. Dr. Cutter and his team have quantified nucleotide polymorphisms in samples of three species: C. elegans, C. briggsae, and C. remanei. C. remanei populations are comprised of females and males (i.e. gonochoristic), whereas the other two have self-fertile hermaphrodites and males (i.e. androdioecious). The androdioecious species have nearly 20-fold lower levels of genetic variation than the gonochorist, consistent with extensive inbreeding by self-fertilization. The Cutter laboratory is also involved in a new collaborative project which aims to sequence entire genomes of multiple individuals in order to characterize genome-wide nucleotide polymorphisms. Using both genome-scale and population-based perspectives, the various research groups are seeking to understand how even extremely weak natural selection can alter patterns of DNA sequence in genomes. This involves integration with genome-wide gene expression data and RNAi-based functional inference about genes.
Researcher Information
Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
25 Willcocks Street
ESC 2052
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 3B2
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Biography
Dr. Asher Cutter was awarded the Canada Research Chair in Evolutionary Genomics in 2006. He received the UK Caenorhabditis Conference Poster Prize in 2005 and the Robert W. Hoshaw Memorial Award from the University of Arizona in 2003. He is an Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology. Dr. Cutter received his PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Arizona in 2004 and completed postdoctoral research at the University of Edinburgh, Institute of Evolutionary Biology under Dr. Deborah Charlesworth in 2006.
Researcher Information
Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
25 Willcocks Street
ESC 2052
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 3B2


Key Publications
Cutter AD, Dey A, Murray RL. Evolution of the Caenorhabditis elegans genome. Mol Biol Evol. 2009 Jun;26(6):1199-234.
Reinke V, Cutter AD. Germline expression influences operon organization in the Caenorhabditis elegans genome. Genetics. 2009 Apr;181(4):1219-28.
Cutter AD. Reproductive evolution: symptom of a selfing syndrome. Curr Biol. 2008 Nov 25;18(22):R1056-8.
Dolgin ES, Charlesworth B, Cutter AD. Population frequencies of transposable elements in selfing and outcrossing Caenorhabditis nematodes. Genet Res. 2008 Aug;90(4):317-29.
Cutter AD, Wasmuth JD, Washington NL. Patterns of molecular evolution in Caenorhabditis preclude ancient origins of selfing. Genetics. 2008 Apr;178(4):2093-104.
Researcher Information
Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
25 Willcocks Street
ESC 2052
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 3B2


Intellectual Property

Researcher Information
Assistant Professor
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
25 Willcocks Street
ESC 2052
Toronto, Ontario
Canada M5S 3B2
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CATEGORIES
Application Area
Animal health, Human health
Disciplinary Focus
Experimental biology and chemistry, Informatics, theoretical biology and computer science, Mathematics and engineering
Research Paradigm
Focused-scope projects, Large-scale projects
Organism
Nematode and worm
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