Yun Ding


B.S. Wuhan University, China, 2005 Ph.D.  

Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, 2011

Postdoc Janelia Research Campus, HHMI, 2012 - 2019

Research Interests

Being able to evolve is a most fundamental and exciting feature of life. Our research focuses on understanding the genetic and neural mechanisms by which animal behaviors evolve. At the causality level, how are genetic changes translated into differences in neural anatomy, physiology and function to encode novel behavioral patterns? At a more general level, how converged are the genetic and neuronal solutions underlying the evolution of similar behavioral traits? And how does the existing structure and function of neural circuits facilitate or constrain behavioral evolution? We address these questions using rapidly evolving Drosophila courtship behaviors as our model system, by taking a highly integrative approach spanning genetics, molecular biology and neurobiology.

Courses Taught

BIO231: Animal Behavior

Selected Publications

Ding Y*, Lillvis JL*, Cande J, Berman GJ, Arthur BJ, Long X, Xu M, Dickson BJ, Stern DL (2019). Neural evolution of context-dependent fly song. Current Biology 29(7):1089-99.  *co-first author

Stern DL, Crocker J, Ding Y, Frankel N, Kappes, Kim E, Kuzmickas R, Lemire R, Picard S. (2017) Genetic and transgenic reagents for Drosophila simulans, D. mauritiana, D. yakuba, D. santomea and D. virilis. G3: Genes, Genomes, Genetics 7.4: 1339-1347

Ding Y, Berrocal A, Morita, T, Longden KD, Stern DL. (2016) Natural courtship song variation caused by an intronic retroelement in an ion channel gene. Nature 526: 329-332

Ding Y, Zhou Q, Wang W. (2012) Origins of new genes and evolution of their novel functions. Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics 43: 345-363

Zhan Z, Ding Y, Zhao R, Zhang Y, Yu H, Zhou Q, Yang S, Xiang H, Wang W (2012) Rapid functional divergence of a newly evolved polyubiquitin gene in Drosophila and its role in the trade-off between male fecundity and lifespan. Molecular Biology and Evolution 29(5): 1407-1416

Chen Y, Ding Y, Zhang Z, Wang W, Chen JY, Ueno N, Mao B (2011) Evolution of the vertebrate central nervous system is accompanied with novel expression changes of duplicated genes. Journal of Genetics and Genomics 38(12): 577-584

Ding Y*, Zhao L*, Yang S, Jiang Y, Chen Y, Zhao R, Zhang Y, Zhang G, Dong Y, Yu H, Zhou Q, Wang W (2010) A young Drosophila duplicate gene plays essential roles in spermatogenesis by regulating several Y-linked male fertility genes. PLoS Genetics 6: e1001255  *co-first author