Yaniv Brandvain

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About me

Me, courtesy of Fishbeer
Me, courtesy of Fishbeer

Brief biographical sketch

Born in Jerusalem and raised in metro Detroit, I received my MA from the College of the Atlantic in 2004. While there, I worked with Kevin Flurkey in David Harrison's group at the Jackson Lab, beginning my life as a research scientist. I am now a graduate student with Mike Wade and Leonie Moyle in the department of biology at Indiana University. If all goes according to plan, I will graduate in the summer of 2010!!!

Research interests

I am broadly interested in evolution and genetics, as well as development and ecology, and I do not believe that these fields are very distinct from one another. I usually gravitate towards problems involving interactions among individuals, genes, levels of selection, or interactions between genes and the environment. Below, I briefly discuss two topics that I think about often - Genomic imprinting & Host-symbiont coevolution.

Genomic imprinting

Sometimes a gene's expression depends on whether it was inherited maternally or paternally. This phenomenon, known as genomic imprinting, has interested me since my undergraduate research. Why should genes be imprinted? The conflict (or kinship) theory argues that conflicts between mom and dad over resource allocation drive the evolution of genomic imprinting. I have worked a bit on this theory and its implications, but I am also interested in a number of other possible explanations. In addition to theoretical interests, I am conducting a few controlled crosses to identify imprinted regions of the tomato genome. I think this would be quite exciting, as we only know of a few imprinted genes from a small sample of plant species.


Most, if not all, of the organisms on earth earth exist as complex multi-taxa communities. Some associations, like that of the mitochondria and the nucleus or Buchnera and aphids are quite intimate, while others are more diffuse. I am interested in how these relationships evolve.

One specific question that I've been looking into is how the inheritance of a symbiont influence the co-evolutionary trajectory of host-symbiont pairs. Looking broadly across the angiosperms, I found that the degree of co-inheritance of mitochondrial and nuclear genomes can predict the number of mitochondrial genes transferred to the nucleus.

Other interests

I play both racquetball and squash regularly and basketball less often. I like to drink bourbon and beer and eat most things. I enjoy much music, but old-timey music is the only thing that gets me dancing. In addition to various Detroit sports, I enjoy watching Chuck, Dexter, and 24. Most of my readings are technical things about ecology, evolution and genetics, but I do also enjoy reading popular science and the history of science.


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  1. Error fetching PMID 19448273: [Paper6]
  2. Error fetching PMID 19154382: [Paper5]
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All Medline abstracts: PubMed HubMed


Friends, mentors and collaborators

Journals, news and podcasts

Evolution, American Naturalist, Genetics

Various forms of help


  • Yaniv Brandvain, Indiana University, Department of Biology. 1001 E 3rd St. Bloomington, IN 47405.
  • Email me through OpenWetWare or at ybrandvain via google mail.
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