Mia Tauna Levine, PhD

faculty photo
Graduate Group Affiliations

Contact information
Department of Biology
204B Carolyn Lynch Laboratories
433 S. University Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6018
Office: 2155739709
BA (Biology)
University of Pennsylvania, 1999.
PhD (Evolutionary population genetics)
University of California, Davis, 2009.
Permanent link
> Perelman School of Medicine   > Faculty   > Details

Description of Research Expertise

Using population genetic, molecular evolution, and phylogenomic approaches, we characterize the evolutionary forces that drive divergence across genes that encode chromatin factors. These “evolutionary screens” direct our molecular genetic and cell biological investigations of these proteins.

Essential, highly conserved cellular processes such as chromosome segregation, telomere integrity, and replication efficiency rely on genes that package DNA. Nevertheless, many of these genes evolve rapidly over time. We utilize classical genetics, molecular genetics, and cell biological approaches to explore the functional consequences of this unexpectedly rapid evolution of the machinery that supports ostensibly conserved processes.

Like many factors in the external environment that select for biological innovation, the internal cellular environment harbors dynamic features that too select for new genetic variants. Using a combination of evolutionary and functional approaches, we aim to uncover the intracellular drivers of diversification of DNA packaging, including chromosome rearrangements (chromosome fissions, fusions) and selfish elements that replicate at the expense of host fitness.

Selected Publications

Levine Mia T, Vander Wende Helen M, Hsieh Emily, Baker EmilyClare P, Malik Harmit S: Recurrent Gene Duplication Diversifies Genome Defense Repertoire in Drosophila. Molecular biology and evolution Mar 2016.

Levine Mia T, Vander Wende Helen M, Malik Harmit S: Mitotic fidelity requires transgenerational action of a testis-restricted HP1. eLife 4: e07378, 2015.

Levine Mia T, Malik Harmit S: A rapidly evolving genomic toolkit for Drosophila heterochromatin. Fly 7(3): 137-41, Jul-Sep 2013.

Levine Mia T, McCoy Connor, Vermaak Danielle, Lee Yuh Chwen G, Hiatt Mary Alice, Matsen Frederick A, Malik Harmit S: Phylogenomic analysis reveals dynamic evolutionary history of the Drosophila heterochromatin protein 1 (HP1) gene family. PLoS genetics 8(6): e1002729, 2012.

Levine Mia T, Malik Harmit S: Learning to protect your genome on the fly. Cell 147(7): 1440-1, Dec 2011.

Levine Mia T, Eckert Melissa L, Begun David J: Whole-genome expression plasticity across tropical and temperate Drosophila melanogaster populations from Eastern Australia. Molecular biology and evolution 28(1): 249-56, Jan 2011.

Turner Thomas L, Levine Mia T, Eckert Melissa L, Begun David J: Genomic analysis of adaptive differentiation in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 179(1): 455-73, May 2008.

Levine Mia T, Begun David J: Evidence of spatially varying selection acting on four chromatin-remodeling loci in Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 179(1): 475-85, May 2008.

Levine Mia T, Holloway Alisha K, Arshad Umbreen, Begun David J: Pervasive and largely lineage-specific adaptive protein evolution in the dosage compensation complex of Drosophila melanogaster. Genetics 177(3): 1959-62, Nov 2007.

Levine Mia T, Begun David J: Comparative population genetics of the immunity gene, Relish: is adaptive evolution idiosyncratic? PloS one 2(5): e442, 2007.

back to top
Last updated: 06/29/2016
The Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania