Kathleen Donohue

Professor of Biology

130 Science Drive, Room 226, Duke Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708-0338
(919) 684-6095
We investigate the genetic basis of adaptation, including the evolution of phenotypic plasticity and maternal effects, the adaptive value of epigenetic modifications, niche construction, dispersal, and mechanisms of multilevel natural selection.


  • Ph.D., University of Chicago 1993

  • M.S., Stanford University 1985

  • B.A., Stanford University 1985

  • B.S., Stanford University 1985

Donohue, K. Darwin's Finches Readings in the Evolution of a Scientific Paradigm. University of Chicago Press, June 15, 2011.

Donohue, K. "Development in the Wild: Phenotypic Plasticity." In The Evolution of Plant Form, 321-355. November 27, 2012. Full Text

Auge, GA, Leverett, LD, Edwards, BR, and Donohue, K. "Adjusting phenotypes via within- and across-generational plasticity." The New phytologist 216, no. 2 (October 2017): 343-349. (Review) Full Text

Donohue, K. "Divergence in How Genetic Pathways Respond to Environments." Trends in plant science 22, no. 10 (October 2017): 817-819. Full Text

Auge, GA, Blair, LK, Neville, H, and Donohue, K. "Maternal vernalization and vernalization-pathway genes influence progeny seed germination." The New phytologist 216, no. 2 (October 2017): 388-400. Full Text

Saastamoinen, M, Bocedi, G, Cote, J, Legrand, D, Guillaume, F, Wheat, CW, Fronhofer, EA, Garcia, C, Henry, R, Husby, A, Baguette, M, Bonte, D, Coulon, A, Kokko, H, Matthysen, E, Niitepõld, K, Nonaka, E, Stevens, VM, Travis, JMJ, Donohue, K, Bullock, JM, and Del Mar Delgado, M. "Genetics of dispersal." Biological reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society (August 3, 2017). Full Text

Imaizumi, T, Auge, G, and Donohue, K. "Photoperiod throughout the maternal life cycle, not photoperiod during seed imbibition, influences germination in Arabidopsis thaliana." American journal of botany 104, no. 4 (April 14, 2017): 516-526. Full Text

Willis, CG, and Donohue, K. "The evolution of intrinsic reproductive isolation in the genus Cakile (Brassicaceae)." Journal of evolutionary biology 30, no. 2 (February 2017): 361-376. Full Text

Blair, L, Auge, G, and Donohue, K. "Effect of FLOWERING LOCUS C on seed germination depends on dormancy." Functional Plant Biology 44, no. 5 (2017): 493-493. Full Text

Leverett, LD, Auge, GA, Bali, A, and Donohue, K. "Contrasting germination responses to vegetative canopies experienced in pre- vs. post-dispersal environments." Annals of botany 118, no. 6 (November 2016): 1175-1186. Full Text

Mesgaran, MB, Lewis, MA, Ades, PK, Donohue, K, Ohadi, S, Li, C, and Cousens, RD. "Hybridization can facilitate species invasions, even without enhancing local adaptation." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113, no. 36 (September 2016): 10210-10214. Full Text


Epigenetic stability and its evolutionary potential awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2019

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: The Phenotypic and Genetic Basis of Facilitation and Competition in Plants awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

The Genetic Basis and Adaptive Significance of Pleiotropy: FLC-Regulated Germination and Flowering awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2017

Collaborative Research: Integrating Genetically Informed awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2016

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Predicting Plant Life-Cycles in Changing Environments awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2016

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Adaptive divergence and the evolution of reproductive isolation across the genus Cakile (Brassi awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2013

The Physiological Basis of Natural Variation in Germination Responses of Arabidopsis Thaliana awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2008 to 2012