Kevin J. Peterson

Professor of Biological Sciences
Professor in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Graduate Program
Professor in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Graduate Program
Adjunct Professor of Earth Sciences

The explosive rise of animals 530 million years ago is among the few major events in the history of life combining the evolution of novel developmental regulatory circuitry in the context of unique environmental circumstances. This ‘Cambrian explosion’ is the primary focus of my laboratory, and the cause(s) of the origin of animal body plans and their later ecological success drives our current research.

Department:
Biological Sciences
Earth Sciences
Education:
B.A. Carroll College
Ph.D. University of California, Los Angeles

Selected Publications

Peterson, K. J., Su, Y.-H., Arnone, M. I., Swalla, B. J., and King, B. microRNAs support the monophyly of enteropneust hemichordates. (2013) Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) in press.

Laflamme, M., Darroch, S. A. F., Tweet, S. M., Peterson, K. J., Erwin, D. H. (2013). The end of the Ediacara biota: Extinction, biotic replacement, or Cheshire Cat? Gondwana Research 23, 558-573.

Robinson, J. M., Sperling, E. A., Bergum, B., Adamski, M., Nichols, S. A., Adamska, M., and Peterson, K. J. (2013). The identification of microRNAs in calcisponges: independent evolution of microRNAs in basal metazoans. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution) 320B 84-93.

Tarver, J. E., Donoghue, P. C. J., and Peterson, K. J. (2012). Do miRNAs have a deep evolutionary history? Bioessays 34, 857-866.

Erwin, D. H. Laflamme, M., Tweedt, S. M., Pisani, D., and Peterson, K. J. (2011). The Cambrian conundrum: Early divergence and later ecological success in the early history of animals. Science, 334, 1091-1097.

Campbell, L. I., Rota-Stabellli, O., Marchioro, T., Longhorn, S. J., Edgecombe, G. D., Telford, M. J., Philippe, H., Rebecchi, L., Peterson, K. J., and Pisani, D. (2011). MicroRNAs and phylogenomics resolve the relationships of Tardigrada and suggest the velvet worms are the sister group of Arthropoda. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 108, 15920-15924.

Anderson, B. M., Pisani, D., Miller, A. I., and Peterson, K. J. (2011). The environmental affinities of marine higher taxa and possible biases in their first appearances in the fossil record. Geology 2011, 971-974.

Campo-Paysaa, F., Sémon, M., Cameron, R. A., Peterson, K. J., and Schubert, M. (2011). miRNA complements in deuterostomes: origin and evolution of miRNAs. Evolution & Development 13, 15-27.

Philippe, H., Brinkmann, H., Copley, R. R., Moroz, L. L., Nakano, H., Poustka, A. J., Wallberg, A., Peterson, K. J., and Telford, M. J. (2011). Acoelomorph flatworms are deuterostomes related to Xenoturbella. Nature 470, 255-258.

Sperling, E. A., Peterson, K. J., and LaFlamme, M. (2010). Rangeomorphs, Thectardis (Porifera?) and dissolved organic carbon in the Ediacaran ocean Geobiology 9, 24-33.

Hydra Genome Consortium (2010). The dynamic genome of Hydra. Nature 464, 592-596.

Rota-Stabellli, O., Campbell, L., Brinkmann, H., Edgecombe, G. D., Longhorn, S. J., Peterson, K. J., Pisani, D., Philippe, H., and Telford, M. (2010). A congruent solution to arthropod phylogeny: phylogenomics, microRNAs and morphology support monophyletic Mandibulata. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B Biological Sciences 278, 298-306.

Heimberg, A. M., Cowper-Sal lari, R., Sémon, M., Donoghue, P. C. J., and Peterson, K. J. (2010). microRNAs reveal the interrelationships of hagfish, lampreys, and gnathostomes and the nature of the ancestral vertebrate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 107, 19379-19383.

Sperling, E. A., Robinson, J. M., Pisani, D., and Peterson, K. J. (2010). Where's the glass? Biomarkers, molecular clocks, and microRNAs suggest a 200-Mry missing Precambrian fossil record of siliceous-sponge spicules. Geobiology 8, 24-36.

Sperling, E. A., Vinther, J., Moy, V. N., Wheeler, B. M., Sémon, M., Briggs, D. E. G., and Peterson, K. J. (2009). MicroRNAs resolve an apparent conflict between annelid systematics and their fossil record. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B Biological Sciences 276, 4315-4322.

Sperling, E. A., Peterson, K. J., and Pisani, D. (2009). Phylogenetic-signal dissection of nuclear housekeeping genes supports the paraphyly of sponges and the monophyly of Eumetazoa. Molecular Biology and Evolution 26, 2261-2274.

Peterson, K. J., Dietrich, M. R., and McPeek, M. A. (2009). MicroRNAs and metazoan macroevolution: insights into canalization, complexity, and the Cambrian explosion. Bioessays 31, 736-747.

Wheeler, B. M., Heimberg, A. M., Moy, V. N., Sperling, E. A., Holstein, T. W., Heber, S., and Peterson, K. J. (2009). The deep evolution of metazoan microRNAs. Evolution & Development 11, 50-68.

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