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 canines, died on December 26 of pancreatic most cancers. He was 66 years outdated.

Wayne has been a school 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 knowledge to point out that highways act as a barrier to migrating bobcats and coyotes, creating customized tunnels that permit wildlife to move via 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” primarily based 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 neighborhood. 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 canines and wolves, together with the traditional dire wolf, the “golden jackal” of East Africa and the canine populations of South America. He’s maybe greatest identified for his analysis on canine evolution, which confirmed that canines had been domesticated from grey wolves.

for him Latest 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 surroundings to determine organisms which can be current however troublesome 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 keep in mind him vividly as a result of he modified the course of my life,” stated 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 lots within the talents of his college students and enabled us to rise to the problem,” stated 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 surroundings and documenting their observations in on-line notebooks. In 2017, he acquired the HHMI Professors Award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute alongside along with his assistant, Professor Beth Shapiro at UC Santa Cruz, for this novel method to educating.

Exterior 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 along with his spouse and good friend Blair Van Valkenburgh, distinguished professor and paleontologist at UCLA.

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

“Bob was an expensive good friend and a touchstone for all of us,” stated Thomas Smith, UCLA Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. “for him His legacy will stay on via 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 immediately advantages threatened species.

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