Marcus W. Feldman

Stanford University

Election Year: 2013
Primary Section: 27, Evolutionary Biology
Secondary Section: 26, Genetics
Membership Type: Member


Marcus Feldman is the Burnet C. and Mildred Finley Wohlford Professor of Biology at Stanford University, where is is Director of the Morrison Institute for Population and Resource Studies and Co-director of the Center for Computational, Evolutionary and Human Genomics. He is known particularly for his work on applying mathematics to population genetics, for his work on human genomic variation, and as one of the originators, with L. L. Cavalli-Sforza, of the quantitative theory of cultural evolution. Feldman was born in Perth, Australia in 1942, received a BS in mathematics from the University of Western Australia, and a Masters in mathematics from Monash University. His PhD is from Stanford in 1969. He joined the faculty at Stanford in 1972. He edited Theoretical Population Biology from 1970 to 2012, and was editor of American Naturalist from 1984 to 1990. He was Dan David laureate in Evolution 2011.

Research Interests

Feldman has worked on the evolution of recombination, mutation, and dispersal using formal population genetic models. He has developed general formulations for the evolution of the sex ratio and sex determination. With collaborators he constructed the first formal evolutionary models of genomic imprinting. His work on human genomic variation was among the first to reveal genomic signatures of modern human migration out of Africa. He has applied models of cultural evolution to explain patterns of change in human behavior and attitudes. His collaborations with Chinese demographers have focused on sex-ratio bias and its consequences for population demographic structure, as well as the related issue of large-scale internal migration.

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