Ray Tobler

Ray is an ARC DECRA fellow whose central interest lies in understanding how evolutionary processes have shaped the remarkable biological diversity observed in humans and other species. In his previous work, Ray has used population genetic datasets to explore how fruit flies adapt to novel thermal environments and to reconstruct the historical human migrations during the initial peopling of modern Indonesia, Australia, and New Guinea. His move to the ECDI is motivated by a desire to achieve a fuller understanding of human evolutionary history by situating genetic analyses within the rich sociocultural context provided by world leading experts in archaeology, anthropology, and linguistics.

Active projects include working with Indigenous groups across Australia, New Guinea, and Island South East Asia to build a detailed understanding of the human population history of these regions – including the original settlement and subsequent movements and interactions. An emerging focus involves leveraging large genomic datasets to investigate how historical evolutionary processes, including adaptation, have shaped modern human disease, and exploring the potential of evolutionary genetic knowledge in the development of novel medical treatments (i.e. evolutionary medicine).

Research area/theme
Detecting remote historical signal
Peopling Sahul
Holocene revolutions
Local diversification
Island Melanesia after Lapita
  • Unravelling human history with ancient DNA, SYNAPSE Series, 30 Jan 2020
Relevant publications

Journal Articles

Souilmi, Y., Tobler, R., Johar, A., Teixeria, J., et al. 2022. Admixture has obscured signals of historical hard sweeps in humans. Nat Ecol Evol. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-022-01914-9

Purnomo, G., Mitchell, K., O’Connor, S., Kealy, K., Taufik, L., Schiller, S., Rohrlach, A., Cooper, A., Llamas, B., Sudoyo, H., Teixeira, J., and Tobler, R. 2021. Mitogenomes Reveal Two Major Influxes of Papuan Ancestry across Wallacea Following the Last Glacial Maximum and Austronesian Contact. Genes 12(7), 965; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes12070965

Souilmi, Y., Lauterbur, M.E., Tobler, R., Huber, C.D., Johar, A.S., Moradi, S.V., and Enard, D. 2021. An ancient viral epidemic involving host coronavirus interacting genes more than 20,000 years ago in East Asia. Current Biology https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cub.2021.05.067

Teixeira, J., Jacobs, G., Stringer, C., Tuke, J., Hudjashov, G., Purnomo, G., Sudoyo, H., Cox, M., Tobler, R., Turney, C., Cooper, A. & Helgen, K. 2021. Widespread Denisovan ancestry in Island Southeast Asia but no evidence of substantial super-archaic hominin admixture. Nature Ecology & Evolution. 5: 616-624. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-021-01408-0

Souilmi ,Y., Tobler, R., Johar, A., Williams, M., Grey, S.T., Schmidt, J., Teixeira, J.C., Rohrlach, A., Tuke, J., Johnson, O.L., Gower G.R., Turney, C.S.M, Cox, M., Huber, C.D., Cooper, A. 2020. Ancient Eurasian genomes reveal strong and rapid selection for cold and carbohydrate diets. bioRxiv. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.04.01.021006

Teixeira JC, Jacobs GS, Stringer C, Tuke J, Hudjashov G, Purnomo GA, Sudoyo H, Tobler R, Cox MP, Turney CSM, Cooper A, Helgen KM. (2020) Introgression, hominin dispersal and megafaunal survival in Late Pleistocene Island Southeast Asia. bioRxiv. doi: https://doi.org/10.1101/2020.07.24.219048

Barghi, N., Tobler, R., Nolte, V. Jakšić, A.M., Mallard, F., Otte, K.A., Dolezal, M., Taus, T., Kofler, R. and Schlötterer, C. 2019. Genetic redundancy fuels polygenic adaptation in Drosophila. PLoS biology 17(2), e3000128; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000128

Mallard, F., Nolte, V., Tobler, R., Kapun, M. and Schlötterer, C. 2018. A simple genetic basis of adaptation to a novel thermal environment results in complex metabolic rewiring in Drosophila. Genome biology 19(1), 1-15; https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3000128

Tobler R, Rohrlach A, Soubrier J, Bover, P., Llamas, B., Tuke, J., Bean, N., Abdullah-Highfold, A., Agius, S., O’Donoghue, A., O’Loughlin, I., Sutton, P., Zilio, F., Walshe, K., Williams, A.N., Turney, C.S.M., Williams, M., Richards, S.M., Mitchell, R.J., Kowal, E., Stephen, J.R., Williams, L., Haak, W. and Cooper A. 2017. Aboriginal mitogenomes reveal 50,000 years of regionalism in Australia. Nature 544(7649):180-184; https://doi.org/10.1038/nature21416

Tobler, R, Franssen, S.U., Kofler, R., Orozco-terWengel, P., Nolte, V., and Schlötterer, C. 2014. Massive Habitat-Specific Genomic Response in D. melanogaster Populations during Experimental Evolution in Hot and Cold Environments. Molecular Biology and Evolution 31(2), 364-375; https://doi.org/10.1093/molbev/mst205

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