Michael Seaman

Associate Professor
Bayer School of Natural and Environmental Sciences
Biological Sciences

218 Mellon Hall
Phone: 412.396.4597


Post-Doc, Genomics, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2004
Post-Doc, Ecology & Evolution, University of Chicago, 2001
Ph.D., Biological Anthropology, Yale University, 2000
B.S., Anthropology, University of Wisconsin, 1993
B.S., Molecular Biology, University of Wisconsin, 1993

My goal of my research is to understand the processes of molecular evolution in humans and other primates. Our goals are to understand how changes at the molecular level produce adaptive changes at the organismal level. We use the tools of both bioinformatics and molecular biology to address these questions in my lab. I teach in the areas of genetics and molecular biology.

Visit my Research Site -- The Seaman Lab.


Research in my lab focuses on understanding the genetic basis for phenotypic change in primate evolution, with an emphasis on recent evolution in humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas. There are a large number of pronounced anatomical, behavioral, and physiological differences between these very closely related species. My lab aims to uncover what changes at what genes have been responsible for these differences, with a special emphasis on genes and gene families related to reproductive physiology.

A second area of research in my lab examines several aspects of genome evolution. This includes an ongoing study of the patterns of nuclear insertions of mitochondria DNA (numts) in hominoid primates. We are also interested in the evolution of gene duplications, novel gene formation, and their relevance for novel phenotypic adaptation.

Past and present research in my lab has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research.


Das R, Hergenrother SD, Soto-Calderón ID, Dew JL, Anthony NM, Jensen-Seaman MI (2014) Complete mitochondrial genome sequence of the eastern gorilla (Gorilla beringei) and implications for African ape biogeography. Journal of Heredity. 105:752-761.

Soto-Calderón ID, Clark NJ, Wildschutte Julia VH, DiMattio K, Jensen-Seaman MI, Anthony NM (2014) Identification of species-specific nuclear insertions of mitochondrial DNA (numts) in gorillas and their potential as population genetic markers. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 81:61-70.

Carnahan-Craig SJ, Jensen-Seaman MI (2014) Rates of evolution of hominoid seminal proteins are correlated with function and expression, rather than mating system. Journal of Molecular Evolution. 78:87-99.

Bishop AC, Ganguly S, Solis NV, Cooley BM, Jensen-Seaman MI, Filler SG. Mitchell AP, Patton-Vogt J (2013) Glycerophosphocholine utilization by Candida albicans: role of the Git3 transporter in virulence. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 288:33939-33952.

Jensen-Seaman MI, Hooper-Boyd KA (2013) Molecular clocks: determining the age of the human-chimpanzee divergence. In: Encyclopedia of Life Sciences. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester (UK) http://www.els.net

Soto-Calderón ID, Lee EJ, Jensen-Seaman MI, Anthony NM (2012) Factors affecting the relative abundance of nuclear copies of mitochondrial DNA (numts) in hominoids. Journal of Molecular Evolution. 75:102-111.

Maddalo G, Chovanec P, Stenberg-Bruzell F, Nielsen HV, Jensen-Seaman MI, Ilag LL, Kline KA, Daley DO (2011) A reference map of the membrane proteome of Enterococcus faecalis. Proteomics. 11: 3935-3941.

Jensen-Seaman MI, Wildschutte JH, Soto-Calderón ID, Anthony NM (2009) A comparative approach shows differences in patterns of numt insertion during hominoid evolution. Journal of Molecular Evolution. 68: 688-699.

Peppler AD and Jensen-Seaman MI (2009) Economical PCR-generated DNA ladder for agarose gels. Journal of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science. 83: 87-89.

Carnahan SJ and Jensen-Seaman MI (2008)  Hominoid seminal protein evolution and ancestral mating behavior. American Journal of Primatology. 70: 939-948.

Jensen-Seaman MI and Hooper-Boyd KH (2008) Molecular Clocks: Determining the Age of the Human-Chimpanzee Divergence. Encyclopedia of Life Sciences and Handbook of Human Molecular Evolution.

Pazehoski KO, Collins T, Boyle RJ, Jensen-Seaman MI, and Dameron CT (2008) Stalking metal-linked dimers. Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry. 102: 522-531. 

Schlick NE, Jensen-Seaman MI, Orlebeke K, Kwitek AE, Jacob HJ, and Lazar J (2006) Sequence analysis of the complete mitochondrial DNA in 10 commonly used inbred rat strains. American Journal of Physiology Cell Physiology. 291: C1183-1192.

Jensen-Seaman MI, Sarmiento EE, Deinard AS, and Kidd KK (2004) Nuclear integrations of mitochondrial DNA in gorillas. American Journal of Primatology. 63: 139-147.

Jensen-Seaman MI, Furey TS, Payseur BA, Lu Y, Roskin KM, Chen C-F, Thomas MA, Haussler D, and Jacob HJ (2004) Comparative recombination rates in the rat, mouse, and human genomes. Genome Research. 14: 528-538.

Yu N*, Jensen-Seaman MI*, Chemnick L, Ryder O, and Li W-H (2004) Nucleotide diversity in gorillas. Genetics 166: 1375-1383. *equal contribution.

Osoegawa K, Zhu B, Shu CL, Ren T, Cao Q, Vessere GM, Lutz MM, Jensen-Seaman MI, Zhao S, de Jong PJ (2004) BAC resources for the rat genome project. Genome Research. 14: 780-785.

Vitt U, Gietzen D, Stevens K, Wingrove J, Becha S, Bulloch S, Burrill J, Chawla N, Chien J, Crawford M, Ison C, Kearney L, Kwong M, Park J, Policky J, Weiler M, White R, Xu Y, Daniels S, Jacob H, Jensen-Seaman MI, Lazar J, Stuve L, Schmidt J (2004) Identification of candidate disease genes by EST alignments, synteny, and expression and verification of Ensembl genes on rat chromosome 1q43-54. Genome Research. 14: 640-650.

Rat Genome Sequencing Project Consortium (2004) Genome sequence of the Brown Norway rat yields insights into mammalian evolution. Nature. 428: 493-521.

Jensen-Seaman MI and Li W-H (2003) Molecular evolution of the hominoid semenogelin genes, the major proteins of ejaculated semen. Journal of Molecular Evolution. 57: 261-270.

Jensen-Seaman MI, Deinard AS, and Kidd KK (2003) Mitochondrial and nuclear DNA estimates of divergence between western and eastern gorillas. In: Taylor AB and Goldsmith ML (eds.) Gorilla Biology: a multidisciplinary perspective. Cambridge University Press.

Yu N, Jensen-Seaman MI, Chemnick C, Kidd JR, Deinard AS, Ryder O, Kidd KK, and Li W-H (2003) Low Nucleotide Diversity in Chimpanzees and Bonobos. Genetics. 164:1511-1518.

Thomas MA, Chen C-F, Jensen-Seaman MI, Tonellato PJ, Twigger S (2003) Phylogenetics of rat inbred strains. Mammalian Genome 14: 61-64.

Jensen-Seaman MI and Kidd KK (2001) Mitochondrial DNA variation and biogeography of eastern gorillas. Molecular Ecology 10: 2241-7.

Jensen-Seaman MI, Deinard AS, Kidd KK (2001) Modern African ape populations as genetic and demographic models of the last common ancestor of humans, chimpanzees, and gorillas. Journal of Heredity 92: 475-80.

Barbulescu M, Turner G, Su M, Kim R, Jensen-Seaman MI, Deinard AS, Kidd KK, and Lenz J (2001) A HERV-K provirus in chimpanzees, bonobos and gorillas, but not humans. Current Biology 11: 779-783.

Turner G, Barbulescu M, Su M, Jensen-Seaman MI, Kidd KK, and Lenz J (2001) Insertional polymorphisms of full-length endogenous retroviruses in humans. Current Biology 11: 1531-1535.

Seaman MI, Chang F-M, Quiñones A, Deinard AS, and Kidd KK (2000) Evolution of exon one of the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4) gene in primates. Journal of Experimental Zoology (Molecular and Developmental Evolution). 288: 32-38.

Seaman MI, Fisher JB, Chang F-M, and Kidd KK (1999) A Tandem duplication polymorphism upstream of the dopamine D4 receptor (DRD4). American Journal of Medical Genetics (Neuropsychiatric Genetics). 88: 705-709.

Barbulescu M, Turner G, Seaman MI, Deinard AS, Kidd KK, and Lenz J (1999) Many human endogenous retrovirus K (HERV-K) proviruses are unique to humans. Current Biology 9: 861-868.

Iyengar SA*, Seaman M*, Deinard AS, Rosenbaum HC, Sirugo S, Castiglione CM, Kidd JR, and Kidd KK (1998) Analyses of cross-species PCR products to infer the ancestral state of human polymorphisms. DNA Sequence 8: 317-327.* equal contribution


Human Genetics (Biol 468/568)
This is an advanced course in human genetics focusing on principles of inheritance, structure and function of the human genome, genetic mapping of diseases, and patterns of human genetic diversity.

Biology I: Cells, Genetics, & Development (Biol 111)
This course is a study of living systems at the molecular, cellular, and multicellular levels. It provides an introduction to cell chemistry, cell structure and function, energetics, and inheritance.

Note regarding the textbook for Biol 111: There are three options: 1. A traditional hard-copy textbook, 2. A loose-leaf (LL) version, and 3. an electronic version. You only need to choose one of the three. Which you choose is personal preference. If you order through the University Bookstore, all three options include access to LaunchPad, an online resource we use extensively. If you buy the book elsewhere, make sure that it includes an access code for LaunchPad (required) and that it is the 3rd edition. If you have questions, please email me.