In memory of: Robert Wayne, 66, pioneer in conservation genetics, protecting canine puppies and other species

Distinguished Professor Robert Wayne, the acclaimed evolutionary geneticist and geneticist whose analysis helped clarify the historical past and evolution of pet canine, died on December 26 of pancreatic most cancers. He was 66 years previous.

Wayne has been a college member within the Division of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at UCLA for greater than 30 years. His analysis has helped protect and handle canine species all over the world. Wayne and his college students have additionally used genetic information to indicate that highways act as a barrier to migrating bobcats and coyotes, creating customized tunnels that enable wildlife to move by and preserve wholesome populations.

Wayne, the primary to ascertain a conservation genetics laboratory at UCLA, helped construct a basis for contemporary molecular conservation genetics. In 1996, he co-authored “Molecular Genetic Strategies in Conservation” based mostly on Symposium of the American Affiliation for the Development of Science. In 2016, Wayne acquired a grant from the College of California President’s Workplace to create a consortium of researchers from six undergraduate universities to develop new conservation genome applied sciences to be shared with the scientific group. He has revealed greater than 300 analysis papers in scientific journals throughout his profession.

A lot of his work has centered on the evolution and genetics of canine and wolves, together with the traditional dire wolf, the “golden jackal” of East Africa and the canine populations of South America. He’s maybe finest recognized for his analysis on canine evolution, which confirmed that canine have been domesticated from grey wolves.

for him Current analysis has centered on the genetic variety of small teams such because the endangered porpoise. His lab has additionally labored on new strategies of analyzing DNA from the setting to determine organisms which might be current however tough to detect.

Wayne was a devoted trainer and mentor to many college students. “My first encounter with Bob was 14 years in the past, however I bear in mind him vividly as a result of he modified the course of my life,” mentioned Jacqueline Robinson, PhD, 2017. It gave me a chance, and supported my scientific improvement as we labored on nice tasks collectively over time.”

“He believed loads within the talents of his college students and enabled us to rise to the problem,” mentioned Annabelle Bechman, Ph.D. in 2020. . “

Over the previous few years, Wayne has launched a brand new course that has taken college students out of the classroom and into the sector on the UCLA nature reserve system websites, the place they’ve been sampling DNA from the setting and documenting their observations in on-line notebooks. In 2017, he acquired the HHMI Professors Award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute alongside together with his assistant, Professor Beth Shapiro at UC Santa Cruz, for this novel method to instructing.

Outdoors of UCLA, Wayne has been a pure scientist and conservationist. He promoted wolf conservation and helped shield the habitat and species of the Santa Monica Mountains, the place he lived together with his spouse and pal Blair Van Valkenburgh, distinguished professor and paleontologist at UCLA.

“Bob made everybody round him suppose larger and bolder, letting us escape of what we discovered comfy,” Kirk Lemueller, UCLA Affiliate Professor of Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Human Genetics. “It made us consider in ourselves, our work, and our mission.”

“Bob was an expensive pal and a touchstone for all of us,” mentioned Thomas Smith, UCLA Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “for him His legacy will stay on by his many college students, postdocs, and colleagues.”

In honor of Wayne’s contributions to conservation genetics, the American Genetic Society is establishing Robert Okay. Wayne Scholarship and Analysis Fund To help graduate college students whose analysis instantly advantages threatened species.

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