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Molecular and Human Genetics

Houston, Texas

Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
Department of Molecular and Human Genetics
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Jeffrey Rogers, Ph.D.

Jeffrey Rogers, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Molecular and Human Genetics

Other Positions

Associate Professor, Human Genome Sequencing Center
Core Scientist, Wisconsin National Primate Research Center, Madison, WI


B.A., Northwestern University, 1978
Ph.D., Anthropology, Yale University, 1989

Research Interests

My research is focused on the genetics and genomics of nonhuman primates. These species are widely used as animal models of disease because they are so similar genetically and physiologically to humans. For studies of neurobiology and behavior, infectious diseases, metabolic diseases and other common health problems, nonhuman primates provide unique and valuable experimental models. As the impact of genetics on biomedical and basic biological research increases, the need for detailed information about the genomics of nonhuman primates also grows.

My laboratory is working on various aspects of primate genomics, including both basic comparative analyses and targeted research using primate models of human disease, with special emphasis on the genetics of brain function and risk factors for psychiatric disorders. As a member of the Human Genome Sequencing Center, I help to plan and execute various studies of nonhuman primate genomes. Working with other HGSC faculty and staff, as well as people outside BCM, we are producing de novo whole genome assemblies for several primates, including baboons (Papio anubis), marmosets (Callithrix jacchus), gibbons (Nomascus leucogenys), mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus), mangabeys (Cercocebus atys) and others. These projects involve deep whole genome sequencing of one individual per species, and computational assembly of the sequence data to produce a reference genome sequence that will be a resource for all future genetic analyses of that species. These projects include the sequencing of additional individuals to identify intra-species genetic variation and RNA sequencing to characterize gene expression. The result is high quality genomic information that facilitates both disease-related research and analyses of genome evolution. We recently began an extensive survey of genomic variation in the most widely used nonhuman primate, the rhesus macaque (Macaca mulatta). By sequencing greater than 100 rhesus monkeys from various research colonies we have discovered functionally significant genetic variation that can be used to examine the effects of specific genes on various disease-related phenotypes. Information regarding genetic variation, and other genomic data, makes all these primate species more useful for future biomedical research projects.

The second major line of research in my laboratory is the genetic analysis of nonhuman primate neurobiology and primate models of risk for psychiatric disease. In collaboration with psychiatrists and neurobiologists, we study individual variation in behavior among macaques and baboons, and the underlying neurobiological mechanisms. The multifaceted behavior of primates, including complex social interactions, makes them outstanding subjects for behavioral and neurogenetics. In one study, we are analyzing the genetics of individual variation among juvenile rhesus monkeys in response to a standardized test procedure, examining genetic effects on behavioral reactivity, brain metabolic activity measured by FDG-PET imaging and structural variation in neural circuits measured by DTI imaging. This project has generated novel information about the effects of specific genes on behavior and brain function that is directly related to the risk for anxiety disorders and depression among humans (Oler et al. 2010; Rogers et al. 2013). The primate models point us to genetic mechanisms that may influence susceptibility to psychiatric disorders in people. We are also analyzing brain structure in baboons (Kochunov et al. 2010; Rogers et al. 2010), behavioral reactivity and response to novelty in macaques, and the genetics of oxytocin and social interactions among adult female macaques.

While most of our effort is focused on the projects above, I also maintain an active interest in genetic analyses of wild primate populations. With several colleagues we are studying wild kinda baboons (Papio kindae) in Zambia (Jolly et al. 2011), a species only recently recognized as distinct from other baboons and which has received little formal scientific attention.

Selected Publications

  1. Rogers J, Raveendran M, Fawcett GL, Fox AS, Shelton SE, Oler JA, Cheverud J, Muzny DM, Gibbs RA, Davidson RJ, Kalin NH (2013). CRHR1 genotypes, neural circuits and the diathesis for anxiety and depression. Mol. Psychiatry 18(6): 700-7. PubMed PMID: 23147386
  2. Locke DP, Hillier LW, Warren WC, Worley KC, Nazareth LV, Muzny DM, Yang SP, Wang Z, Chinwalla AT, Minx P, Mitreva M, Cook L, Delehaunty KD, Fronick C, Schmidt H, Fulton LA, Fulton RS, Nelson JO, Magrini V, Pohl C, Graves TA, Markovic C, Cree A, Dinh HH, Hume J, Kovar CL, Fowler GR, Lunter G, Meader S, Heger A, Ponting CP, Marques-Bonet T, Alkan C, Chen L, Cheng Z, Kidd JM, Eichler EE, White S, Searle S, Vilella AJ, Chen Y, Flicek P, Ma J, Raney B, Suh B, Burhans R, Herrero J, Haussler D, Faria R, Fernando O, Darré F, Farré D, Gazave E, Oliva M, Navarro A, Roberto R, Capozzi O, Archidiacono N, Della Valle G, Purgato S, Rocchi M, Konkel MK, Walker JA, Ullmer B, Batzer MA, Smit AF, Hubley R, Casola C, Schrider DR, Hahn MW, Quesada V, Puente XS, Ordoñez GR, López-Otín C, Vinar T, Brejova B, Ratan A, Harris RS, Miller W, Kosiol C, Lawson HA, Taliwal V, Martins AL, Siepel A, Roychoudhury A, Ma X, Degenhardt J, Bustamante CD, Gutenkunst RN, Mailund T, Dutheil JY, Hobolth A, Schierup MH, Ryder OA, Yoshinaga Y, de Jong PJ, Weinstock GM, Rogers J, Mardis ER, Gibbs RA, Wilson RK (2011). Comparative and demographic analysis of orang-utan genomes. Nature 469(7331): 529-33. PubMed PMID: 21270892
  3. Fawcett GL, Raveendran M, Deiros DR, Chen D, Yu F, Harris RA, Ren Y, Muzny DM, Reid JG, Wheeler DA, Worley KC, Shelton SE, Kalin NH, Milosavljevic A, Gibbs R, Rogers J (2011). Characterization of single-nucleotide variation in Indian-origin rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). BMC Genomics 12: 311. PubMed PMID: 21668978
  4. Jolly CJ, Burrell AS, Phillips-Conroy JE, Rogers J (2011). Kinda baboons (Papio kindae) and grayfoot chacma baboons (P. ursinus griseipes) hybridize in the Kafue River valley, Zambia. Amer. J. Primatology 73(3): 291-303. Wiley Online Library, DOI: 10.1002/ajp.20896
  5. Oler JA, Fox AS, Shelton SE, Rogers J, Dyer TD, Davidson RJ, Shelledy W, Oakes TR, Blangero J, Kalin NH (2010). Amygdalar and hippocampal substrates of anxious temperament differ in their heritability. Nature 466(7308): 864-8. PubMed PMID: 20703306
  6. Rogers J, Kochunov P, Zilles K, Shelledy W, Lancaster J, Thompson P, Duggirala R, Blangero J, Fox PT, Glahn DC (2010). On the genetic architecture of cortical folding and brain volume in primates. Neuroimage 53(3): 1103-8. PubMed PMID: 20176115
  7. Kochunov P, Glahn DC, Fox PT, Lancaster JL, Saleem K, Shelledy W, Zilles K, Thompson PM, Coulon O, Mangin JF, Blangero J, Rogers J (2010). Genetics of primary cerebral gyrification: Heritability of length, depth and area of primary sulci in an extended pedigree of Papio baboons. Neuroimage 53(3): 1126-34. PubMed PMID: 20035879
  8. Rogers J, Shelton SE, Shelledy W, Garcia R, Kalin NH (2008). Genetic influences on behavioral inhibition and anxiety in juvenile rhesus macaques. Genes Brain Behav. 7(4): 463-9. PubMed PMID: 18045243
  9. Gibbs R, Rogers J, and the Rhesus Macaque Genome Sequencing and Analysis Consortium (2007). Evolutionary and biomedical insights from the rhesus macaque genome. Science 316(5822): 222-34. PubMed PMID: 17431167

Awards and Honors

Past Member, NIH Comparative Medicine Study Section
Chairman, NCRR-NIH Working Group for Primate Genetics and Genomics
Past and Current Editorial Board Member: Genome Research, American Journal of Primatology, and American Journal of Physical Anthropology

Contact Information

Jeffrey Rogers, Ph.D.
Human Genome Sequencing Center
Baylor College of Medicine
One Baylor Plaza, MS BCM226
Houston, TX, 77030, U.S.A.

Phone: 713-798-7783

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