Thomas Mitchell-Olds

Newman Ivey White Distinguished Professor of Biology

Office: 
French Science Center 3101, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
Duke Box 90338, Durham, NC 27708-0338
We study genetic variation in plant populations, focusing on genes that influence traits controlling plant performance in an environmental context – a central theme throughout our research in natural and agricultural populations. Much of our work is focused on the genes that affect ecological success and evolutionary fitness in natural environments. Similarly, the interaction of crop plants with their biotic and abiotic environments is controlled by complex trait variation which can be elucidated by interdisciplinary analyses incorporating functional genomics, physiological and chemical ecology, and population and quantitative genetics. We work at several levels: genetic variation within populations, local adaptation among populations, and the evolution of species differences. Our study systems are centered on the wild relatives of Arabidopsis, as well as complex trait variation of rice in Asia and Africa.

Education

  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin - Madison 1985

  • B.A., Earlham College 1978

Voigt, M. L., M. Melzer, T. Rutten, T. Mitchell-Olds, and T. F. Sharbel. “Gametogenesis in the apomictic Boechera holboellii complex: the male perspective.” In Apomixis: Evolution, Mechanisms and Perspectives, edited by E. Horandl, U. Grossniklaus, P. van Dijk, and T. F. Sharbel. International Association for Plant Taxonomy - Koeltz Scientific Books, 2007.

Mitchell-Olds, T., I. Al-Shehbaz, M. Koch, and T. Sharbel. “Crucifer Evolution in the Post-Genomic Era.” In Diversity and Evolution of Plants - Genotype and Phenotype Variation in Higher Plants, edited by R. Henry, 119–37. CABI press, 2005.

Gurganus, M., and T. Mitchell-Olds. “Quantitative Trait Loci and Developmental Plasticity.” In Plant Evolutionary Genetics and the Biology of Weeds, edited by B. A. Schaal, T. Y. Chiang, and C. H. Chou, 77–100. Ch-Chi, Taiwan: Endemic Species Research Institute, 2004.

Kroymann, J., and T. Mitchell-Olds. “Function and evolution of an Arabidopsis insect resistance QTL.” In Biology of Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions, edited by B. Lugtenberg, I. Tikhonovich, and N. Provprov, 4:259–62. . International Society of Molecular Plant Microbe Interactions, APS Press, 2003.

Rushworth, Catherine A., and Tom Mitchell-Olds. “The Evolution of Sex is Tempered by Costly Hybridization in Boechera (Rock Cress).The Journal of Heredity 112, no. 1 (March 2021): 67–77. https://doi.org/10.1093/jhered/esaa041. Full Text

Castano-Duque, Lina, Sharmistha Ghosal, Fergie A. Quilloy, Thomas Mitchell-Olds, and Shalabh Dixit. “An Epigenetic Pathway in Rice Connects Genetic Variation to Anaerobic Germination and Seedling Establishment.Plant Physiology, February 26, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1093/plphys/kiab100. Full Text

Yan, Wenjie, Baosheng Wang, Emily Chan, and Thomas Mitchell-Olds. “Genetic architecture and adaptation of flowering time among environments.The New Phytologist, January 23, 2021. https://doi.org/10.1111/nph.17229. Full Text

Rushworth, Catherine A., Yaniv Brandvain, and Tom Mitchell-Olds. “Identifying the fitness consequences of sex in complex natural environments.Evolution Letters 4, no. 6 (December 2020): 516–29. https://doi.org/10.1002/evl3.194. Full Text

Mandáková, Terezie, Petra Hloušková, Michael D. Windham, Thomas Mitchell-Olds, Kaylynn Ashby, Bo Price, John Carman, and Martin A. Lysak. “Chromosomal Evolution and Apomixis in the Cruciferous Tribe Boechereae.Frontiers in Plant Science 11 (January 2020): 514. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpls.2020.00514. Full Text

Wang, Baosheng, Julius P. Mojica, Nadeesha Perera, Cheng-Ruei Lee, John T. Lovell, Aditi Sharma, Catherine Adam, et al. “Correction to: Ancient polymorphisms contribute to genome-wide variation by long-term balancing selection and divergent sorting in Boechera stricta.Genome Biology 20, no. 1 (August 9, 2019): 161. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13059-019-1781-5. Full Text

Wang, Baosheng, Julius P. Mojica, Nadeesha Perera, Cheng-Ruei Lee, John T. Lovell, Aditi Sharma, Catherine Adam, et al. “Ancient polymorphisms contribute to genome-wide variation by long-term balancing selection and divergent sorting in Boechera stricta.Genome Biology 20, no. 1 (June 21, 2019): 126. https://doi.org/10.1186/s13059-019-1729-9. Full Text

Keith, Rose A., and Thomas Mitchell-Olds. “Antagonistic selection and pleiotropy constrain the evolution of plant chemical defenses.Evolution; International Journal of Organic Evolution 73, no. 5 (May 2019): 947–60. https://doi.org/10.1111/evo.13728. Full Text

Rushworth, Catherine A., Michael D. Windham, Rose A. Keith, and Tom Mitchell-Olds. “Ecological differentiation facilitates fine-scale coexistence of sexual and asexual Boechera.American Journal of Botany 105, no. 12 (December 13, 2018): 2051–64. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajb2.1201. Full Text

Arisz, Steven A., Jae-Yun Heo, Iko T. Koevoets, Tao Zhao, Pieter van Egmond, A Jessica Meyer, Weiqing Zeng, et al. “DIACYLGLYCEROL ACYLTRANSFERASE1 Contributes to Freezing Tolerance.Plant Physiology 177, no. 4 (August 2018): 1410–24. https://doi.org/10.1104/pp.18.00503. Full Text

Pages

Anderson, Jill T., David W. Inouye, Amy M. McKinney, Robert I. Colautti, and Tom Mitchell-Olds. “Phenotypic plasticity and adaptive evolution contribute to advancing flowering phenology in response to climate change.” In Proceedings. Biological Sciences, 279:3843–52, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2012.1051. Full Text

Wittstock, Ute, Niels Agerbirk, Einar J. Stauber, Carl Erik Olsen, Michael Hippler, Thomas Mitchell-Olds, Jonathan Gershenzon, and Heiko Vogel. “Successful herbivore attack due to metabolic diversion of a plant chemical defense.” In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101:4859–64, 2004. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0308007101. Full Text

Kroymann, Juergen, Susanne Donnerhacke, Domenica Schnabelrauch, and Thomas Mitchell-Olds. “Evolutionary dynamics of an Arabidopsis insect resistance quantitative trait locus.” In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 100 Suppl 2:14587–92, 2003. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1734046100. Full Text

Ratzka, Andreas, Heiko Vogel, Daniel J. Kliebenstein, Thomas Mitchell-Olds, and Juergen Kroymann. “Disarming the mustard oil bomb.” In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 99:11223–28, 2002. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.172112899. Full Text

McKay, J. K., J. G. Bishop, J. Z. Lin, J. H. Richards, A. Sala, and T. Mitchell-Olds. “Local adaptation across a climatic gradient despite small effective population size in the rare sapphire rockcress.” In Proceedings. Biological Sciences, 268:1715–21, 2001. https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2001.1715. Full Text

Bishop, J. G., A. M. Dean, and T. Mitchell-Olds. “Rapid evolution in plant chitinases: molecular targets of selection in plant-pathogen coevolution.” In Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 97:5322–27, 2000. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.97.10.5322. Full Text

Stotz, H., J. Kroymann, M. Tobler, and T. Mitchell-Olds. “Systematic genetic and molecular analysis of insect resistance in Arabidopsis.” In Biology of Plant Microbe Interactions, Vol 2, edited by J. G. M. DeWit, T. Bisseling, and W. J. Stiekema, 373–77. INTERNATIONAL SOC MOLECULAR PLANT-MICROBE INTERACTIONS, 2000.

Mitchell-Olds, T. “Genetics and evolution of insect resistance in Arabidopsis.” In Insect Plant Interactions and Inducible Plant Defense, edited by D. J. Chadwick, 239–48. London: Novartis Foundation, 1999.

MITCHELLOLDS, T. “QUANTITATIVE GENETIC CHANGES IN SMALL POPULATIONS.” In Unity of Evolutionary Biology, Vols 1 and 2, 634–38, 1991.

Selected Grants

Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Training Program awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2005 to 2021

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

Molecular Causes and Fitness Consequences of Complex Trait Variation awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2008 to 2019

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: The Genetic Architecture of Covarying Traits awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2014 to 2017

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Evolutionary Genetics of Asexual Reproduction in a Wild Plant Species awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2013 to 2016

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: Evolution of a novel phenotype: The role promiscuous enzyme function in adaptation awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2010 to 2013

Ecological Genomics of Local Adaptation and Trait Variation in an Arabidopsis Relative awarded by National Science Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2007 to 2011