Michael Barker is an evolutionary biologist studying the origins of biological diversity, particularly how abrupt genomic changes such as polyploidy, chromosomal change, and hybridization have contributed to the evolution of plant diversity. Biologists have long been fascinated by these processes because they create unique opportunities for the evolution of ecological and phenotypic novelty with the potential for relatively rapid speciation. Although assessing the importance of these abrupt changes has historically been a difficult task, advances in genomics and bioinformatics have created new opportunities for addressing these longstanding questions. By integrating new computational and evolutionary genomic tools with traditional approaches such as molecular evolution, phylogenetics, mathematical modeling, and experimental work Barker's lab currently studies 1.) the contributions of recent and ancient polyploidy to eukaryotic diversity; 2.) the evolution of chromosome number and genome organization; and 3.) the impact of hybridization on speciation and novelty.
Barker, M. S., K. M. Dlugosch, L. Dinh, R. S. Challa, N. C. Kane, M. G. King, and L. H. Rieseberg. 2010. EvoPipes.net: Bioinformatic tools for ecological and evolutionary genomics. Evolutionary Bioinformatics 6: 143-149.
Shi, T., H. Huang, and M. S. Barker. 2010. Ancient genome duplications during the evolution of kiwifruit (Actinidia) and related Ericales. Annals of Botany 106: 497-504.
Barker, M. S. and P. G. Wolf. 2010. Unfurling fern biology in the genomics age. BioScience 60(3): 177-185.
Mayrose, I., M. S. Barker, and S. P. Otto. 2010. Probabilistic models of chromosome number evolution and the inference of polyploidy. Systematic Biology 59(2): 132-144.
Barker, M. S., H. Vogel, and M. E. Schranz. 2009. Paleopolyploidy in the Brassicales: Analyses of the Cleome transcriptome elucidate the history of genome duplications in Arabidopsis and other Brassicales. Genome Biology and Evolution 1(1): 391-399.
Wood, T. E., N. Takebayashi, M. S. Barker, I. Mayrose, P. B. Greenspoon, and L. H. Rieseberg. 2009. The frequency of polyploid speciation in vascular plants. PNAS 106(33): 13875-13879.
Barker, M. S.*, K. M. Dlugosch*, A. C. C. Reddy, S. N. Amyotte, and L. H. Rieseberg. 2009. SCARF: Maximizing next-generation EST assemblies for evolutionary and population genomic analyses. Bioinformatics 25(4): 535-536.
Barker, M. S., N. C. Kane, M. Matvienko, A. Kozik, R. W. Michelmore, S. J. Knapp, and L. H. Rieseberg. 2008. Multiple paleopolyploidizations during the evolution of the Compositae reveal parallel patterns of duplicate gene retention after millions of years. Molecular Biology and Evolution 25(11): 2445-2455.
Brandvain, Y.*, M. S. Barker*, and M. J. Wade. 2007. Gene co-inheritance and gene transfer. Science 315: 1685.