Charles F. Baer

A pike caught through the ice of TorontoAssociate Professor

Ph.D. Florida State University, 1998

Areas of Interest/Research

I am a comparative evolutionary geneticist whose research is motivated by theoretical population genetics. My primary research interest is in the factors responsible for the generation and maintenance of genetic variation. I am especially interested in the evolution of mutation rate. There is considerable taxonomic variation in the rate and cumulative effects of new mutations, even among genotypes within species. I begin from the premise that the mutation rate is an evolvable phenotype which is subject to optimizing selection, and which may evolve in predictable ways. My research program has two primary objectives: (1) elucidate the various factors that underlie variation in the mutation rate, and (2) determine the extent to which variation in mutation rate explains variation among taxa in standing genetic variation at the phenotypic and molecular level. Recently, our studies of mutational variation have led me to become interested in the evolution of phenotypic robustness.

We use Rhabditid nematodes as our experimental organism, and employ a variety of phenotypic and molecular methods to address the questions of interest. Additional research interests include the evolution of genetic architecture (i.e., genetic covariance), the phylogeography of fresh water fish, and selection experiments in any way, shape, or form.

Representative Publications

  1. Johnson, L. M., L. M. Chandler, S. K. Davies, and C. F. Baer. 2018. Network architecture and mutational sensitivity of the C. elegans metabolome. Frontiers in Molecular Biosciences – Metabolomics, 5: 69. doi: 10.3389/fmolb.2018.00069. PMID: 30109234.
  2. Yeh, S-D., A. Saxena, T. Crombie, D. Feistel, L. M. Johnson, I. Lam, J. Lam, S. Saber, and  C. F. Baer. 2017. The mutational decay of male and hermaphrodite competitive fitness in the androdioecious nematode C. elegans, in which males are naturally rare. Heredity, 120:1-12. PMID: 29234171.
  3. Teotónio, H., S. Estes, P. Phillips and C. F. Baer. 2017. Experimental evolution with Caenorhabditis nematodes. Genetics, 206: 691–716. PMID: 28592504.
  4. Davies, S. K., A. Leroi, A. Burt, J. G. Bundy, and  C. F. Baer. 2016. The mutational structure of metabolism in Caenorhabditis elegans. Evolution, 70: 2239–2246. PMID: 27465022.
  5. Farhadifar, R., J. M. Ponciano, E. C. Andersen, D. J. Needleman, and C. F. Baer. 2016. Mutation is a sufficient and robust predictor of genetic variation for mitotic spindle traits in C. elegans. Genetics 203: 1859-1870. PMID: 27334268.

Graduate Students

Name Email Research Interests
Moein Rajaei  Evolutionary Genetics and Statistics
Ayush Saxena How quantitative traits evolve in experimental lines of C.elegans and other organisms
Lindsay Johnson Evolutionary and Population Genetics
Sayran Saber Quantitative evolutionary biology

Postdocs and Visitors

Name Email Research Interests

Contact Information

Office: 621 Bartram Hall
Phone: (352) 392-3550
Fax: (352) 392-3704

Mailing address:
Department of Biology /
University of Florida Genetics Institute
P. O. Box 118525
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611-8525 USA