Welcome to

Chris Klingenberg's web site

Klingenberg lab
                  logo: fly wing with warped outline


My research explores how morphological variation comes about. What are the developmental origins of variation, and how is its expression controlled genetically? What are the evolutionary implications of these processes? Genetic variation of morphological traits is based on genetic variation in the developmental processes that produce the traits. In turn, the genetic variation of morphological traits provides the potential for evolutionary change by selection or random drift. This potential is realised in phylogeny, providing the structured diversity of organismal forms we see in nature. The long-term goal is to achieve a quantitative understanding of these linkages of genetics, development, and evolution.

To approach this goal, members of my lab and I used morphometric techniques to measure variation in the size and shape of morphological structures. We combined these methods with the experimental protocols from quantitative and developmental genetics as well as with comparative approaches in an explicit phylogenetic context. In particular, we have been interested in devising new approaches to extract developmental information from the special structure of morphometric data, for instance, the redundancy inherent in symmetric body plans. We also investigated complexes of characters that vary jointly in a coordinated fashion, because the patterns of variation in the final structures retain much information on the developmental processes that produced them. The search for new ways to extract such information has just begun, and there remains much opportunity for further exciting developments.

In the past, the primary model systems of the lab have been the Drosophila wing and mouse mandible and skull, but we engaged in projects with an increasing range of other study organisms as well, often in collaboration with other research groups.


For more details, follow these links:




Morphometrics course


Other software