Institute of Evolution

The Institute of Evolution (IoE)

Established in the University of Haifa at 1977 by prof. Eviatar Nevo, includes 12 faculty members (members of the Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology) and more than 20 affiliated scientists with PhD degrees.

The Institute of Evolution (IOE) at the University of Haifa is unique in its broad and interdisciplinary research with particular expertise in population and evolutionary genetics, developmental evolution, behavioral evolution, bioinformatics and ecology. The IOE is situated on Mount Carmel at the heart of the Carmel national park, next to one of most beautiful cities around the Mediterranean, we are in prefect location to study biodiversity and evolution. We are abundant with in house and outdoor facilities providing for modern, cutting edge science. Together with the Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology based in our campus, we are a center of excellence in the field of ecology and evolution in the north of Israel.

Institute News

Save the Date - Darwin Day Symposium 12th February 2023

In memoriam of Prof. Leon Blaustein

Catсhing Blind Mole Rats by Dr. Imad Shams in the Upper Galilee

Imad Video.mp4

Credit: Dr. Grace Smarsh

Scientific Seminars

The presented lectures deal mainly with the hot topics in evolutionary biology, molecular genetics, genomics, and ecology. The seminars are delivered by expert lecturers and distinguished visitors in a relaxed environment.

At this point, the seminars will be held on Mondays at 12:00 pm

Next seminar:

28.11.2022, Safdie Auditorium, Multi-purpose building

Moscow State University

Genomic Patterns Of Epistasis Between And Within Species


The action of selection on genomic sites can be inferred from patterns in sequencing data. Meanwhile, how selection at a site depends on what variant is present at another site, a phenomenon called epistasis, remains murky. Based on the work performed in my lab over the years, I will show that epistasis between amino acid sites is a genome-scale phenomenon that is pervasive both between and within species. Using objects ranging from influenza and SARS-CoV-2 viruses to vertebrate mitochondria and nuclear genomes, I will show that epistasis leads to a consistent pattern: correlated occurrence of substitutions in species phylogenies. Strikingly, the same pattern is observed throughout the genome in populations of the world’s most polymorphic species – a fungus Schizophyllum commune. Here, it is manifested as increased linkage disequilibrium (LD) between nonsynonymous substitutions. LD is especially high between pairs of sites that are located within the same gene, and particularly between pairs of nonsynonymous variants encoding amino acids that interact within the protein. These patterns indicate that selection in S. commune involves positive epistasis due to compensatory interactions between nonsynonymous alleles. Epistasis is a prevalent phenomenon in the genome, and patterns of genetic variation in hyperpolymorphic species can reveal large-scale properties of the fitness landscape that are hard to detect by studying species with ordinary levels of genetic variation.