Picture of HOWARD

RICHARD D. HOWARD

Professor
LILY G-333
Phone: 494-8136

An important recent approach used by scientists worldwide involves putting the genes of one type of organism into another. This research has led to significant new discoveries and applications. In the field of agriculture, the goal of such genetic manipulations is to increase production. These genetic techniques are quite powerful and can affect our world greatly. Thus, it is critical to obtain the benefits of this technology while not also suffering any detriments associated with it. The main goal of our research is to predict the degree of risk associated with a genetically modified organism before it is released into nature so that ways can be devised to not damage our environment.

My lab focuses on both how nature works (basic biology) and how biological phenomena relate to human activities or concerns (applied biology). We use an evolutionary approach; that is, we ask how the traits of organisms are either naturally selected (increase individual survival) or sexually selected (increase individual mating success). The potential ecological risks associated with the release of a genetically modified organism into nature is the subject of a recent study my lab is conducting in collaboration with a professor in the Animal Sciences department.

Education

Ph.D., Michigan, 1977

Professional Faculty Research

(Evolutionary ecology and behavior) Evolution of mating systems: influence of social and ecological factors on reproductive tactics; estimation of reproductive success; patterns of sexual dimorphism; environmental risk assessment of genetically modified organisms.

Other Activities

GrantReviews/Study Sections

  • National Science Foundation DDIG review panel

Faculty Presentations

  • "A mating success advantage in a genetically modified fish and the Trojan gene effect," Annual American Fisheries Society Meeting, August 10-13, 2003.
  • "Trojan genes and alternative mating tactics," Departmental seminar, Indiana State University, October 14, 2003.
  • "Trojan genes and alternative mating tactics," Departmental seminar, Purdue University at Calumet, March, 10, 2004.
  • "Trojan genes and alternative mating behavior," Biology Department, Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia, February 7-8, 2005.

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