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George (PJ) Perry

George (PJ) Perry

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Associate Professor of Anthropology and Biology

513 Carpenter Building
University Park, PA 16802
Phone: (814)863-7654


  1. B.A., Anthropology, Wake Forest University
  2. M.A., Anthropology, Arizona State University
  3. Ph.D., Anthropology, Arizona State University

Postdoc Training

  1. University of Chicago, 2008-2011

Research Interests

  • Anthropological genomics
  • Paleogenomics (ancient DNA)
  • Human rainforest hunter-gatherer evolutionary ecology
  • Human impacts on non-human evolutionary biology
  • Parasites as proxies for human evolution
  • Madagascar human-environment interaction and lemur evolutionary ecology

Projects in our lab are broadly motivated by hypotheses about human evolutionary ecology -- how we have adapted to our variable or changing environments -- and how human behavior has affected the evolutionary biology of other species that share our ecosystems. Among our major current project areas, one is focused on the evolutionary ecology of human rainforest hunter-gatherers, including the identification and characterization of convergent adaptation among genetically distinct African and Southeast Asian populations. Another research area considers the evolutionary biology of various human parasites, including tapeworms and lice, as proxies from which to make inferences about our own evolution. Finally, we are studying the history of human-environment interactions on Madagascar and the evolutionary ecologies of lemurs on the island, including on how this diverse group of primates (including extinct species - the “subfossil” lemurs) has been affected by, and possibly adapted to, anthropogenic habitat disturbances and hunting pressures. Please visit the Current Projects page on our lab's website for more detailed information.

Most of our projects have major genomics laboratory and computational research components. When possible, we incorporate functional analyses into our studies, for example with cell line (including with induced pluripotent stem cell, or iPSC) and parasite experiments. In addition to our modern DNA lab, we have a separate ancient DNA (paleogenomics) lab where we work with the bones and teeth of individuals from extinct species or from prehistoric populations of extant species. Finally, some projects also involve the collection of complementary ecological data at international field sites in Madagascar, Uganda, and Peru. Our research is currently funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation.

Please visit our Laboratory Website for more information and to see profiles on each member of the lab!

Selected Publications

Sullivan AP, Bird DW, & Perry GH. 2017. Human behavior as a long-term ecological driver of non-human evolution. Nature Ecology and Evolution 1:0065.

Bankoff RJ & Perry GH. 2016. Hunter-gatherer genomics: Evolutionary insights and ethical implications. Current Opinion in Genetics and Development 41:1-7.

Kistler L, Newsom LA, Ryan TM, Clarke AC, Smith BD, & Perry GH. 2015. Gourds and squashes (Cucurbita spp.) adapted to megafaunal extinction and ecological anachronism through domestication. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 112:15107-15112.

Kistler L, Ratan A, Godfrey LR, Crowley BE, Hughes CE, Lei R, Cui Y, Wood ML, Muldoon KM, Andriamialison H, McGraw JJ, Tomsho LP, Schuster SC, Miller W, Louis EE, Yoder AD, Malhi RS, & Perry GH. 2015. Comparative and population mitogenomic analyses of Madagascar's extinct, giant 'subfossil' lemurs. Journal of Human Evolution 79:45-54.

Perry GH, Kistler L, Keleita MA, & Sams AJ. 2015. Insights into hominin phenotypic and dietary evolution from ancient DNA sequence data. Journal of Human Evolution 79:55-63.

Perry GHFoll M, Grenier JC, Patin E, Nedelec Y, Pacis A, Barkatt M, Gravel S, Zhou X, Nsobya S, Excoffier L, Quintana-Murci L, Dominy NJ, & Barreiro. 2014. Adaptive, convergent origins of the pygmy phenotype in African rainforest hunter-gatherers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 111:E3596-603.

Perry GH. 2014. Parasites and human evolution. Evolutionary Anthropology 23:218-28.

Hodgson JA, Pickrell JK, Pearson LN, Quillen EE, Prista A, Rocha J, Soodyall H, Shriver MD, & Perry GH. 2014. Natural selection for the Duffy-null allele in the recently admixed people of Madagascar. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281:2014930.

Perry GH. 2013. The promise and practicality of population genomics research with endangered species. International Journal of Primatology 35:55-70.

Perry GH, Louis EE, Ratan A, Bedoya-Reina OC, Burhans R, Lei R, Johnson SE, Schuster SC, & Miller W. 2013. Aye-aye population genomic analyses highlight an important center of endemism in northern Madagascar. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 110:5823-8.

Perry GH & Dominy NJ. 2009. Evolution of the human pygmy phenotype. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 24:218-25.

Perry GH, Dominy NJ, Claw CG, Lee AS, Fiegler H, Redon R, Werner J, Villanea FA, Mountain JL, Misra R, Carter NP, Lee C, & Stone AC. 2007. Diet and the evolution of human amylase gene copy number variation. Nature Genetics 39:1256-60.

See the Publications page on our lab’s website for a full list of our publications.