William R. Jeffery




Office Phone: 301.405.5202

Lab: 301.405.7377

Fax: 301.314.9358

Office Address: 2272 Bio-Psych



Developmental Biology

Graduate Program Affiliations

  • BISI - BISI-Molecular & Cellular Biology (MOCB)
  • BISI - BISI-Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, & Systematics (BEES)

Research Interests

I am interested in the evolution of development. Several different animals are used in my research. The teleost Astyanax mexicanus is a single species with eyed surface dwelling and blind cave dwelling forms. I want to understand the developmental and evolutionary mechanisms responsible for phenotypic changes in Astyanax cavefish. I am also interested in the ancestry of the neural crest and regeneration in chordates. For this research I use sea squirts (ascidians), especially Ciona intestinalis, which has a completely sequenced genome.

Recent Publications

Auger, H., Sasakura,Y., Joly, J-S., and W. R. Jeffery (2010). Regeneration of oral siphon pigment organs in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Develop. Biol.. 339: 374-389.

Yoshizawa, M., Goricki, S., Soares, D., and W. R. Jeffery (2010). Evolution of a behavioral shift mediated by superficial neuromasts helps cavefish find food in darkness. Curr. Biol. 20: 1631-1636.

Protas, M. and W. R. Jeffery (2012). Evolution and development of cave animals: From fish to crustaceans. WIREs Developmental Biology. 1: 823-845. doi: 10.1002/wdev.61 

Gallo, N. D, and W. R. Jeffery (2012). Evolution of space dependent growth in the teleost Astyanax mexicanus. PLoS ONE 7(8) e41443. Doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0041413 

Jeffery, W. R. (2012). Siphon regeneration capacity is compromised during aging in the ascidian Ciona intestinalis. Mech. Aging Dev. 133: 629-636.

Yoshizawa, M., Yamamoto, Y., O' Quin, K. W., and W. R. Jeffery (2012). Evolution of an adaptive behavior and its sensory receptors promotes eye regression in blind cavefish. BMC Biology . 10:108 doi:10.1186/1741-7007-10-108. 

Hinaux, H., Poulain, J. Da Silva, C., Noirot, C., Jeffery, W. R., Casane, D., and S. Retaux. (2013). De novo sequencing of Astyanax mexicanus surface fish and Pachon cavefish transcriptomes reveals reveal enrichment of mutations in putative cavefish eye genes. PLoS ONE 8:e53553..


Fellow AAAS, Fellow Linnean Societ, 2012 Alexander Kowalevsky Medal


Ph.D., University of Iowa, 1971. Evolution of developmental mechanisms in chordates.