John H. Willis

Professor of Biology

3314 French Science Center, Science Drive, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Department Of Biology, Durham, NC 27708-0338
(919) 660-7340
We conduct research on broad issues in evolutionary genetics, and we are currently addressing questions relating to the evolution of adaptation, reproductive isolation, breeding systems, inbreeding depression, and floral traits in natural plant populations. Please see our lab web page for more information.


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago 1991

Troth, A, Puzey, JR, Kim, RS, Willis, JH, and Kelly, JK. "Selective trade-offs maintain alleles underpinning complex trait variation in plants." Science (New York, N.Y.) 361, no. 6401 (August 2018): 475-478. Full Text

Ferris, KG, and Willis, JH. "Differential adaptation to a harsh granite outcrop habitat between sympatric Mimulus species." Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution 72, no. 6 (June 2018): 1225-1241. Full Text

Barnett, LL, Troth, A, and Willis, JH. "Plastic breeding system response to day length in the California wildflower Mimulus douglasii." American Journal of Botany 105, no. 4 (April 25, 2018): 779-787. Full Text

Aeschbacher, S, Selby, JP, Willis, JH, and Coop, G. "Population-genomic inference of the strength and timing of selection against gene flow." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114, no. 27 (July 2017): 7061-7066. Full Text

Fierst, JL, Murdock, DA, Thanthiriwatte, C, Willis, JH, and Phillips, PC. "Metagenome-Assembled Draft Genome Sequence of a Novel Microbial Stenotrophomonas maltophilia Strain Isolated from Caenorhabditis remanei Tissue ." Genome Announcements 5, no. 7 (February 16, 2017): e01646-16-e01646-16. Full Text

Greenham, K, Lou, P, Puzey, JR, Kumar, G, Arnevik, C, Farid, H, Willis, JH, and McClung, CR. "Geographic Variation of Plant Circadian Clock Function in Natural and Agricultural Settings." Journal of Biological Rhythms 32, no. 1 (February 2017): 26-34. Full Text

Ferris, KG, Barnett, LL, Blackman, BK, and Willis, JH. "The genetic architecture of local adaptation and reproductive isolation in sympatry within the Mimulus guttatus species complex." Molecular ecology 26, no. 1 (January 2017): 208-224. Full Text

Puzey, JR, Willis, JH, and Kelly, JK. "Population structure and local selection yield high genomic variation in Mimulus guttatus." Molecular Ecology 26, no. 2 (January 2017): 519-535. Full Text

Oneal, E, Willis, JH, and Franks, RG. "Disruption of endosperm development is a major cause of hybrid seed inviability between Mimulus guttatus and Mimulus nudatus." The New phytologist 210, no. 3 (May 2016): 1107-1120. Full Text

Lee, YW, Fishman, L, Kelly, JK, and Willis, JH. "A Segregating Inversion Generates Fitness Variation in Yellow Monkeyflower (Mimulus guttatus)." Genetics 202, no. 4 (April 2016): 1473-1484. Full Text


Selected Grants

Genetics Training Grant awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 1979 to 2020

Collaborative Research: Hybrid Seed Inviability and the Evolution of Endosperm Development in Mimulus awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2019

Collaborative Proposal: The ecological genomic basis of parallel serpentine adaptation in Mimulus awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2018

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Genetic Basis of Population Divergence in the Threshold of Environmental Induction of a Floral Po awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2018

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Shedding Light on the Complex Relationship Between Circadian Clock Variation and the Trade-off Be awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2017

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Genetic Basis and Adaptive Significance of Key Developmental Traits Underlying awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2017

A Genomic Analysis of Complex Trait Variation in Mimulus awarded by University of Kansas (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2016

LiT: Genomic Analysis of Life-history Adaptation awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2014

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: The Genetics of Adaptation to a Novel Stressful Environment in Mimulus awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2014