Philip Service


Emeritus Professor

Phone: 928-523-7216
Office: Bldg. 21 room 426

Research/teaching interests:

  • population genetics
  • life-history genetics
  • evolution

Academic highlights

  • PhD: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Zoology, 1982

My teaching interests include introductory genetics, population and quantitative genetics, evolutionary biology, and experimental design and analysis.

I have organized graduate seminars on topics such as genetic data analysis, and resampling methods in statistics. In addition to helping students master genetics and evolutionary biology, my teaching goals include helping them to develop strong quantitative analytical skills.

The research in our laboratory focuses on the quantitative genetics of life history. We are primarily interested in life span.

The theoretical framework for much of our research is provided by the evolutionary theory of senescence as developed by Hamilton, Medawar and Williams, among others. We use Drosophila melanogaster as our model organism for experimental studies.

Our experimental approaches include those of "classical" quantitative genetics, such as selection and half-sib analyses.

In addition, we have completed one series of quantitative trait locus (QTL) mapping experiments that have identified several chromosome regions that contain life span genes in D. melanogaster. We intend to continue our QTL mapping investigations in order to map life span genes with greater precision.

A related line of work concerns the importance of individual variation in rates of aging (demographic heterogeneity). This work is based on simulation studies.

We have argued that demographic heterogeneity can reconcile the apparent disagreement between observation and theory with respect to age-specific mortality patterns.

Selected publications

Forbes, S. N., R. K. Valenzuela, P. Keim, and P. M. Service. 2004. Quantitative trait loci affecting life span in replicated populations of Drosophila melanogaster. I. Composite interval mapping. Genetics 168:301-311. 

Valenzuela, R. K., S. N. Forbes, P. Keim, and P. M. Service. 2004. Quantitative trait loci affecting life span in replicated populations of Drosophila melanogaster. II. Response to selection. Genetics 168:313-324. 

Service, P. M. 2004. Demographic heterogeneity explains age-specific patterns of genetic variance in mortality rates. Experimental Gerontology 39:25-30. 

Service, P. M. 2000. The genetic structure of female life history in D. melanogaster: comparisons among populations. Genetical Research 75:153-166. 

Service, P. M. 2000. Heterogeneity in individual mortality risk and its importance for evolutionary studies of senescence. American Naturalist 156: 1-13. 

Service, P. M., C. A. Michieli, and K. McGill. 1998. Experimental evolution of senescence: an analysis using a "heterogeneity" mortality model. Evolution 52:1844-1850.