Research Overview

How do differences between organisms arise and spread?

My research leverages genomic technologies to identify functionally important regions of the genome. Recent research has focused on the evolution of wing patterns in Heliconius butterflies. The enormous wing pattern variation in the group offers exceptional opportunities for genomic level studies designed to reveal how morphological variation is created through development and modified by natural selection within the context of an extraordinary adaptive radiation. I maintain an active molecular genetic lab, as well as experimental facilities for Heliconius culture and study.


Duke University, Zoology, B.Sc., 1985

University of Hawaii, Zoology, M.Sc., 1991

University of Hawaii, Zoology, Ph.D., 1994

University College London, Genetics, Postdoctoral, 1994-1997

Selected Publications

Supple, M. A., R. Papa, B. A. Counterman and W. Owen McMillan (2013) The genomics of an adaptive radiation– insights across the Heliconius speciation continuum. In Ecological Genomics, 249-271. Landry, C.R. and Aubin-Horth, N. (Eds). Springer.

Supple, M. A., H. M. Hines, K. K. Dasmahapatra, D. M. Nielsen, C. Lavoie, D. A. Ray, C. Salazar, W. O. McMillan*, and B. A. Counterman* (2013) Genomic architecture of adaptive color pattern divergence and convergence in Heliconius butterflies. Genome Research, 23:1248-1257.

Martin, A., R. Papa, N. J. Nadeau, R. I. Hill, B. A.Counterman, G. Halder, C. D. Jiggins, M. R. Kronforst, A Long, W. O. McMillan*, and R. D. Reed* (2012) Diversification of complex butterfly wing patterns by repeated regulator evolution of WntA. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 109(31):12632-12637.

Puebla, O., Bermingham, E., and W. O. McMillan (2012) On the spatial scale of dispersal in coral reef fishes. Molecular Ecology, 21:5675-5688

The Heliconius Genome Consortium (2012) Heliconius butterfly genome reveals promiscuous exchange of adaptive genetic variation among species. Nature, 487(7405): 94-98.

Hines, H. M., B. A. Counterman, R. Papa, P. Albuquerque de Moura, M. Z. Cardoso, M. Linares, J. Mallet, R. D. Reed, C. D. Jiggins, M. R. Kronforst, and W. O. McMillan (2011) Wing patterning gene redefines the mimetic history of Heliconius butterflies. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 118(49): 19666-19671.

Reed, R. D.*, R. Papa*, A. Martin, H. M. Hines, B. A. Counterman, C. Pardo-Diaz, C. D. Jiggins, N. L. Chamberlain, M. R. Kronforst, R. Chen, G. Halder, H. F. Nijhout, and W. O. McMillan (2011) optixs drives repeated convergent evolution in butterfly color pattern mimicry. Science, 333: 1137-1141

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