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George (PJ) Perry

George (PJ) Perry

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Assistant 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

  • Population and conservation genomics
  • Ancient DNA
  • Evolutionary ecology
  • Malagasy extant and extinct lemurs, and people
  • Rainforest hunter-gatherers
  • Parasites and human evolution

Projects in our lab are broadly motivated by hypotheses about human and non-human primate evolutionary ecology -- how we have adapted to our variable or changing environments. The primary research tools we use for these studies often include analyses of genomic-scale data, especially genome sequence data. New sequencing technologies are now helping to facilitate powerful evolutionary genomic analyses of remote and endangered populations and species, such as those that we often study. We are also using this technology for ancient DNA genomic studies; in addition to the modern DNA lab, we have a separate clean lab where we extract DNA from the bones and teeth of individuals from extinct species (or from prehistoric populations of extant species). Many projects also involve the collection of complementary ecological data in the field.

Currently, there are three major project areas in the lab. One is focused on the history of human-environment interactions on Madagascar and the evolutionary ecologies of lemurs on the island, including how this diverse group of primates (including extinct species - the “subfossil” lemurs) has been affected by, and possibly adapted to, habitat disturbances and hunting pressures. The second project is on the evolutionary ecology of human rainforest hunter-gatherers, including the identification and characterization of convergent patterns of adaptation among genetically distinct African and Southeast Asian populations. Finally, we have recently begun genomic and ancient DNA studies of various human parasites, including tapeworms and hookworms, as proxies from which to make inferences about our own evolutionary and ecological history.

See our lab's website for more information:

Selected Publications

Sullivan AP, de Manuel M, Marques-Bonet T, & Perry GH. 2016. An evolutionary medicine perspective on Neandertal extinction. bioRxiv preprint:

Bankoff RJ, Jerjos M, Hohman B, Lauterbur E, Kistler L, & Perry GH. 2016. Do aye-ayes echolocate? Studying convergent genomic evolution in a primate auditory specialist. bioRxiv preprint:

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.