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John Doebley

Principal Investigator

Contact Information:


Genetics Department
University of Wisconsin
425-G Henry Mall
Madison, WI 53706 USA




Research Interests

My research focuses on the genetics of the evolution of plant form using maize as our model system and quantitative genetics as our main analytical approach. For more information, visit my website or my page at


Why I became a scientist:

Although I grew up in the concrete jungle of Philadelphia, I was drawn to nature and spent much of my youth biking to any fragment of the natural world within 20 miles of my urban home where I could turn over rocks looking for strange bugs, capture frogs and snakes, or anything else that moved. My parents were remarkably tolerant of the collection of critters that I brought home to add to my menagerie.  My love of nature led me to major in biology in college with the hope of becoming a naturalist at a national park.  But in college I was exposed to new influences and I developed a fascination with genetics and anthropology. As an undergraduate, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to perform independent research project, work at an archaeological excavation, and author a poster for the meeting of the American Society of Physical Anthropologist.  These experiences motivated me to apply to graduate school.  When I entered graduate school, I planned to combine my interests in genetics and anthropology by becoming a human population geneticist.  My career took a turn when I was offered a chance to travel to Mexico and comb through its hillsides in search of the ancestor to maize, teosinte.  After this I was hooked on maize and so began my career working on the genetics of maize domestication.


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