Erica Larson

Assistant Professor, Evolution

What I do

My lab studies how sexual selection and genomic conflict shape the evolution of reproduction, and how divergence in these key reproductive traits contribute to speciation.


evolutionary biology

Professional Biography

  • Assistant Professor, University of Denver, 2017 - present
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, Division of Biological Sciences, University of Montana, 2013 - 2017


  • Ph.D., Ecology & Evolutionary Biology, Cornell University, 2006 - 2013
  • B.S. Biology, Western Washington University, 2000 - 2004


In the Larson Lab, we want to understand the origins of species diversity and how evolutionary forces drive speciation. The evolution of reproductive traits is central to this process. Males and females interact in diverse ways, both before and after mating. They also interact at different organizational levels—as individuals, gametes, sex chromosomes, and genes that have evolved male and female-biased functions. The evolution of reproductive traits is at once cooperative and antagonistic. Individuals have to be able to reproduce, but males and females can have conflicting interests. We study how sexual selection and genomic conflict shape the evolution of reproduction, and how divergence in these key reproductive traits contribute to speciation.

Featured Publications


Larson EL. 2019. Antagonistic coevolution of the Y and X. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 3: 1505-1506.

Larson EL, Tinghitella RM, and SA Taylor. 2019. Insect hybridization and climate change. Frontiers Ecology and Evolution. 7: Article 348.

Larson EL, Brassil MM, Maslan J, Juárez D, Lilagan F, Tipton H, Schweitzer A, Skillman J, Monsen-Collar KJ, and MA Peterson. 2019. The effects of heterospecific mating frequency on the strength of cryptic reproductive barriers. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 32: 900-912. [Cover]

Taylor, SA and EL Larson. 2019. Insights from genomes into the evolutionary importance and prevalence of hybridization in nature. Nature Ecology and Evolution 3: 170-177.

Skinner BM, Bacon J, Rathje CC, Larson EL, EEK Kopania, JM Good, NA Affara, and PJI Ellis. 2019. Automated nuclear cartography reveals conserved sperm chromosome territory localization across 2 million years of mouse evolution. Genes 10: 109. 

Skinner BM, Rathje CC, Bacon J, Johnson EEP, Larson EL, Kopania EEK, Good JM, Yousafzai G, Affara NA, and PJI Ellis. 2019. A high-throughput method for unbiased quantitation and categorisation of nuclear morphology. Biology of Reproduction 100: 1250-1260. 



Larson EL, Kopania EEK, and JM Good. 2018. Spermatogenesis and the evolution of mammalian sex chromosomes. Trends in Genetics 34: 722-732.

Larson EL, Vanderpool D, Sarver BAJ, Callahan C, Keeble S, Provencio LP, Kessler MD, Stewart V, Nordquist E, Dean MD, and JM Good. 2018. The evolution of polymorphic hybrid incompatibilities in house mice. Genetics 209: 845-859. [Highlighted article] Awarded Editor’s Choice Award for Outstanding Population Genetic Article

Fitzpatrick JL and EL Larson. 2018. Finding sperm in the English countryside - the 14th Biology of Spermatozoa Meeting. Molecular Reproduction and Development 85: 371-373.  



Chang PL, Kopania E, Keeble S, Sarver B, Larson EL, Orth A, Belkhir K, Boursot P, Bonhomme, F, Good JM, and MD Dean. 2017. Whole exome sequencing of wild-derived inbred strains of mice improves power to link phenotype to genotype. Mammalian Genome 28: 416-425. [Cover]

Larson EL, Keeble S, Vanderpool D, Dean MD and JM Good. 2017. The composite regulatory basis of the large X-effect in mouse speciation. Molecular Biology and Evolution 34: 282-295.


Editor’s Choice Award for Outstanding Population Genetics Article published in Genetics Awarded for “The evolution of polymorphic hybrid incompatibles in house mice”, 2019