Professor Weinreich is a theoretical population geneticist who uses a combination of experimental, analytic and simulation techniques to further understanding of the general principles of biological adaptation.
Population genetics is the subdiscipline of evolutionary biology borne of the synthesis between Darwin’s model of natural selection and the particulate nature of inheritance described by Mendel and Morgan. Despite its 100+ year history (the first breakthrough being Fisher 1918), the current, breakneck pace of experimental innovations makes this something of a golden age for the field. Much of Weinreich's work is inspired by (and often also employs) two of these recent technical opportunities in particular: the ability to evolve and observe hundreds of replicate microbial populations in well-controlled laboratory environments, and the more than 100,000-fold drop in the cost of DNA sequencing since the year 2000.
Weinreich's intellectual motivations can be divided into two areas.
1. For many years Weinreich has been fascinated by the evolutionary consequences of interactions among mutations, and his lab has pursued parallel theoretical and experimental approaches to frame and answer a succession of questions in this area. Click here to learn more about his work in mutational interactions and evolution.
2. Beginning roughly five years ago Weinreich began working on the evolution of a broad class of modifiers mutations. Modifiers are a diverse class of genes that influence the fidelity with which genetic material is translated into phenotype within individuals, as well as the fidelity with which it is transmitted over space and time. Here again, he uses complementary theoretical and experimental techniques. Click here to learn more about work on the evolution of modifier mutations.