Gregory Allan Wray

Gregory Allan Wray
Professor of Biology
CMB - Biology
DSCB - Evolution and Development
Campus mail: 125 Science Drive, 4104 French Family Science Center, Durham, NC 27708
Phone: (919) 684-6696

I study the evolution of genes and genomes with the broad aim of understanding the origins of biological diversity. My approach focuses on changes in the expression of genes using both empirical and computational approaches and spans scales of biological organization from single nucleotides through gene networks to entire genomes. At the finer end of this spectrum of scale, I am focusing on understanding the functional consequences and fitness components of specific genetic variants within regulatory sequences of several genes associated with ecologically relevant traits. At the other end of the scale, I am developing molecular and analytical methods to detect changes in gene function throughout entire genomes, including statistical frameworks for detecting natural selection on regulatory elements and empirical approaches to identify functional variation in transcriptional regulation. At intermediate scales, I am investigating functional variation within a dense gene network in the context of wild populations and natural perturbations. My research leverages the advantages of several different model systems, but primarily focuses on sea urchins and primates (including humans).

Education and Training

  • College of William and Mary, B.S. 1981
  • Duke University, Ph.D. 1987

Selected Grants and Awards


Abundant raw material for cis-regulatory evolution in humans.

Changes in gene expression and regulation--due in particular to the evolution of cis-regulatory DNA sequences--may underlie many evolutionary changes in phenotypes, yet little is known about the distribution of such variation in populations.