Molly Schumer
Ph.D. Candidate

Molly Schumer

Co-advised with
Peter Andolfatto

Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Princeton University 

Tel: 609.258.3160 

email:schumer AT 

Curriculum Vitae 

Molly Schumer

Molly's website is maintained at

I'm interested in the effects of sexual selection on hybridization and speciation. Sexual selection plays a major role in reproductive isolation between species, especially when postzygotic isolation is weak. Theoretically, drift in sexually selected traits, or novel combinations of existing sexually selected traits achieved through hybridization, could result in speciation.

My research focuses on identifying the genetic basis of sexually selected traits in the freshwater fish group Xiphophorus and understanding the effects of sexual selection on patterns of hybridization in this genus. Xiphophorus species are remarkable for their morphological and behavioral diversity, in part driven by sexual selection. Strong behavioral premating isolation prevents hybridization in many species, but we have recently found that hybridization is incredibly common in Xiphophorus, perhaps due to the fact that behavioral premating barriers are prone to disruption in changing environmental or ecological conditions. Determining the role of hybridization in trait evolution in Xiphophorus is a fascinating topic I hope to focus on in the future.


  1. M. Schumer, C. Xu, D.L. Powell, A. Durvasula, L. Skov, C. Holland, J. C. Blazier, S. Sankararaman,P. Andolfatto, G.G. Rosenthal and M. Przeworski, 2018. Natural selection interacts with the local recombination rate to shape the evolution of hybrid genomes. Science. aar3684. [PDF]
  2. G.G. Rosenthal, M. Schumer, and P. Andolfatto, 2018. How the manakin got its crown: a novel trait that is unlikely to cause speciation. PNAS. aar3684. [PDF]
  3. M. Schumer, G.G. Rosenthal, and P. Andolfatto, 2018. What do we mean when we talk about hybrid speciation? Heredity. [PDF]
  4. R. Cui, P.J. Delclos, M. Schumer and G.G. Rosenthal, 2017. Early social learning triggers neurogenomic expression changes in a swordtail fish. Proceedings: Biological Sciences 284: pii: 20170701. [PDF]
  5. M. Schumer, D.L. Powell, P.J. Delclos, M. Squire, R. Cui, P. Andolfatto and G.G. Rosenthal, 2017. Assortative mating and persistent reproductive isolation in hybrids. PNAS. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1711238114 [PDF]
  6. Z. Baker, M. Schumer, Y. Haba, L. Bashkirova, C. Holland, G.G. Rosenthal and M. Przeworski, 2017. Repeated losses of PRDM9-directed recombination despite the conservation of PRDM9 across vertebrates. eLife. doi: 10.7554/eLife.24133. [PDF]
  7. M. Schumer, R. Cui, D.L. Powell, G.G. Rosenthal, and P. Andolfatto, 2016. Ancient hybridization and genomic stabilization in a swordtail fish. Mol. Ecol. 25: 2661–2679 [PDF]
  8. R. Cui, M. Schumer, and G.G. Rosenthal, 2016. Admix’em: A flexible framework for forward-time simulations of hybrid populations with selection and mate choice. Bioinformatics 32: 1103-1105. [PDF]
  9. M. Schumer, R. Cui, G.G. Rosenthal, and P. Andolfatto, 2016. simMSG: an experimental design tool for high-throughput genotyping of hybrids. Mol. Ecol. Resources 16: 183-192. [PDF]
  10. M. Schumer, R. Cui, G.G. Rosenthal and P. Andolfatto, 2015. Reproductive isolation of hybrid populations driven by genetic incompatibilities. PLoS Genetics 11: e1005041.) [PDF]
  11. M. Schumer, R. Cui, D.L. Powell, R. Dresner, G.G. Rosenthal and P. Andolfatto , 2014. High-resolution mapping reveals hundreds of genetic incompatibilities in hybridizing fish species. eLife 2014:10.7554/eLife.02535. [PDF]
  12. M. Schumer, G.G. Rosenthal and P. Andolfatto , 2014. How common is homoploid hybrid speciation? Evolution 68:1553-1560. [PDF]
  13. S.C.P. Renn and M. Schumer, 2013. Genetic accommodation and behavioral evolution: insights from genomic studies. Animal Behaviour .
  14. M. Schumer, R. Birger, C. Tantipathananandh, J. Aurisano, M. Maggioni, P. Mwangi , 2013. Infestation by a Common Parasite is Strongly Influenced by Ant Symbiont Identity in a Plant-Ant Mutualism. Biotropica
  15. R. Cui, M. Schumer, K. Kruesi, R. Walter, P. Andolfatto and G.G. Rosenthal, 2013. Phylogenomics reveals extensive reticulate evolution in Xiphophorus fishes. Evolution. DOI: 10.1111/evo.12099 [PDF]
  16. M. Schumer, R. Cui, B. Boussau, R. Walter, G.G. Rosenthal and P. Andolfatto, 2012. An evaluation of the hybrid speciation hypothesis for Xiphophorus clemenciae based on whole genome sequences. Evolution . [PDF]
  17. Y. Zhen, M.L. Aardema, E.M. Medina, M. Schumer, P. Andolfatto , 2012. Parallel molecular evolution in a herbivore community. Science 337:1634-1637
  18. M. Schumer, K. Krishnakant and S.C.P. Renn, 2011. Comparative gene expression profiles for highly similar aggressive phenotypes in male and female cichlid fishes (Julidochromis). Journal of Experimental Biology 214:3269-3278
  19. M. Spengler, K. Kuropatwinski, M. Schumer and M. Antoch , 2009. A serine cluster mediates BMAL1-dependent CLOCK phosphorylation and degradation. Cell Cycle 8:24, 4138-4146