Southern Illinois University David G. King, Annotated List of Publications

since 2009    2009-2000    1999-1990    1989-1980    before 1980

Poster pdfs
(These are emphemeral, except as archived here.)
2006  /  2009  /  2013  /  2014  /  2015

Several of the listings below are followed by brief personal comments.  Reading from the bottom up, these comments sketch out the trajectory of my research career.

(2013)  King, D.G. What can giant axons tell us about genetics and evolution?  International Society for Neuroethology Newsletter, July/August 2013, pp. 5-7.

A pair of giant axons in a small fly
(note additional large-axon pairs).

The idea of individually specialized nerve cells has fascinated me throughout my career, ever since I first encountered the concept during my graduate study at UCSD, where my dissertation (below) was focussed on individually identified nerve cells in lobsters.  My postdoctoral work was explicitly directed toward understanding the giant fibers of Drosophila.  During the early 1980s, I began examining a variety of different fly species in hopes of pinning down the phylogenetic origin of these curious nerve fibers.  While the specimens collected for that purpose served admirably for my 1991 report on the evolutionary origin of the dipteran cardia, a simple story of giant fiber evolution eluded me. 

At several annual meetings of the Society for Neuroscience, my poster presentations were essentially intended to raise questions about the evolution of individually-identifiable neurons.  When these presentations were met with very little interest, I put this giant-fiber work aside in favor of my transition to studies of evolutionary genetics.  Yet even this transition was indirectly driven by my desire to understand how individually-identifiable nerve cells could evolve, particularly when the totality of information in a genome would seem inadequate (at least to me) to specify such precision circuitry.

As my retirement approached, I assembled for this newsletter article several micrographs displaying the variety of specialized axonal diameters in flies.  I am tempted to regard this essay as the most eloquent expression of my conviction, that neuroscience really does need to address evolutionary processes in order to understand how nervous systems are organized.  (For a related, extended discussion, see my 2001 online-only essay, "Evolution of neural circuits.")

(2012)  King, D.G.  Indirect Selection of Implicit Mutation Protocols.  Annals of the New York Academy of Science 1267:45-52.   doi:  10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06615.x  [author preprint] [email for PDF:]

I regard this essay as the culmination of my work studying the implications of indirect selection for evolutionary processes.  Subsequent poster presentations (for meetings in 2013, 2014, and 2015) have offered further elaboration.

(2011d) King, D.G.  Indirect selection of local mutation rates.  DIMACS Conference on Effects of Genome Structure and Sequence on the Generation of Variation and Evolution, August 9 - 11, 2011. 

Proceedings of a conference, subsequently published as "Effects of Genome Structure and Sequence on the Generation of Variation and Evolution," Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Volume 1267 (2012).

(2011c)  King, D.G.  Genetic Variation Among Developing Brain Cells.  Science E-Letter (published 16 May 2011). 

Yet another letter-to-the-editor in our campaign to publicize the evolutionary role of repetitive DNA.

(2011b)  King, D.G.  Light on genetic dark matter (letter to the editor).  Science News 179(7):30 (26 March 2011). 

Another letter-to-the-editor in our campaign to publicize the evolutionary role of repetitive DNA.

(2011a)  King, D.G.  Evolution of simple sequence repeats as mutable sites.  In: Anthony Hannan, ed., Tandem Repeat Polymorphisms: Genetic Plasticity, Neural Diversity and Disease, Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media.  Adv Exp Med Biol. (2012) 769:10-25.  [preprint]   [email for PDF:]

Although this review was submitted by invitation for a fairly obscure publication, much of the evidence presented here, that the evolution of simple sequence repeats was indeed driven by more than mutation pressure and genetic drift, has not been reviewed elsewhere.

Image by Milo Winter, Aesop's Fables, 1919
(adapted from Wikipedia Commons)

(2010)  King, D.G.  Metaptation: Metaphors for genome evolution.  In: Structural and Functional Diversity of the Eukaryotic Genome, Verhandlungen des naturforschenden Vereines in Brünn, Specialausgabe, p. 40. 

This abstract, for a meeting held in the abbey where Gregor Mendel grew his peas, offers an updated definition for the word "metaptation" (first defined in 1985).  Cheeky of me, a neuroscientist, to offer a genetics seminar at Mendel's abbey in Brno.  This might be my only publication that includes an exclamation point! 

The slide show for this seminar features the image at right, illustrating a fable of a grasshopper...

(2009)  King, D.G., and Y. Kashi  Heretical DNA sequences?  Science 326: 229-230.  

A letter-to-the-editor highlighting the intriguing properties of repetitive DNA sequences.

(2008)  Fondon III, J.W., E.A.D. Hammock, A.J. Hannan, and D.G. King  Simple sequence repeats: Genetic modulators of brain function and behavior.  Trends in Neurosciences 31: 328-334.  doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2008.03.006.  [authors' prepublication MSWord document] [email for PDF:]

This review emphasized the applicability of our tuning-knob hypothesis (1997b, 1997c, 2006a) in the domain of neuroscience.

(2007)  King, D.G., and Y. Kashi  Mutation rate variation in eukaryotes: evolutionary implications of site-specific mechanisms.  Nature Reviews Genetics 8 (November 2007) | doi:10.1038/nrg2158-c1

(2007)  King, D.G., and Y. Kashi  Mutability and Evolvability:  Indirect selection for mutability.  Heredity 99:123-124. doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6800998.  [email for PDF:]

Our two short essays in 2007 were both responses to published papers which failed to address overwhelming evidence for extensive variation in localized, site-specific mutation rates.  Unfortunately, the significance of such sites is still being ignored years later (e.g., Zhang 2022, also in Nature Reviews Genetics).  Mutation rate continues to be treated as a single, unitary parameter, while Sturtevant's obsolete 1937 dictum -- that "mutations are accidents, and accidents will happen" -- persists as misleading dogma (cf., Indirect selection of implicit mutation protocols, above).

(2006d)  Y. Kashi and D.G. King  Has simple sequence repeat mutability been selected to facilitate evolution?  Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution 52:331-342.  doi:10.1560/IJEE_52_3-4_331 [email for PDF:]

This essay continued our campaign to publicize the evolutionary implications of simple sequence repeats.

(2006c)  Hammock, E.A.D., and D.G. King  Genes and neuroethology:  How can evolution adjust behavior?  International Society for Neuroethology Newsletter, November 2006, pp. 4-7.

This newsletter article highlighted new information related to a behavioral function for simple sequence repeats, later elaborated in our 2008 TiNS review.

(2006b)  Y. Kashi and D.G. King  Simple Sequence Repeats as Advantageous Mutators in Evolution.  Trends in Genetics 22: 253-259.  [Abstract]  doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2006.03.005 [email for PDF:]

This review updated our 1997b TiG review, with stronger emphasis on evolutionary implications.

(2006a)  King, D.G., E.N. Trifonov, and Y. Kashi  Tuning Knobs in the Genome:  Evolution of Simple Sequence Repeats by Indirect Selection.  In: Lynn H. Caporale, ed., The Implicit Genome, Oxford University Press.  [Abstract]   [Table of contents for The Implicit Genome]   [email for preprint:]

Lynn Caporale offered the invitation to submit this essay, based on mutual interests demonstrated at her 1998 NYAS meeting, "Molecular strategies of biological evolution" (1999b).  In previous reviews coauthored with Kashi and Soller (listed below), I had depended almost entirely on those two coauthors for content.  Preparing to write this review left me finally competent enough with genetics to feel somewhat in control of the literature for myself.

(2002)  King, D.G., and J.G. Killian  Binocular rivalry, bipolar disorder, and aging:  Perceptual alternation rate correlates with age as well as with psychiatric diagnosis.  Program No. 803.4 Washington DC:  Society for Neuroscience.  [Abstract with graph of data]

Prompted by events in my personal life, I put aside my principal interest in evolutionary genetics for a three-year project summarized in this abstract.

(2000)  King, D.G. Indirect selection on the mutational landscape: An evolved role for the mutability of repetitive DNA?  IN: Evolution 2000, (ed. M.J. Wade), Indiana University Conferences, Bloomington, Indiana.  [pdf]

This extended abstract, offering graphically illustrated results of a simple model of population genetics, was published in the proceedings of the 2000 meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution.  Disappointingly, this presentation garnered essentially no interest.  (I eventually realized that much of SSE membership is deeply conservative.)

(1999c)  Krajewski, C., Fain, M., L. Buckley and King, D. G. (1999)  Dynamically heterogenous partitions and model-based phylogenetic inference:  An evaluation of analytical strategies with cytochrome b and ND6 gene sequences in cranes.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 13: 302-313.   [Abstract]

For this and a 1996 paper also authored by Krajewski, my only contribution was the coding of conceptually-simple computer programs which facilitated the comparison of DNA sequences.

(1999b)  King, D.G.   Modelling selection for adjustable genes based on simple sequence repeats.  In: Molecular Strategies in Biological Evolution, Annals of the New York Academy of Science 870: 396-399.

Abstract only, published in proceedings of a 1998 meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences, "Molecular strategies in biological evolution," organized by Lynn Helena Caporale.  A more elaboration version was prepared for the 2000 meeting of the Society for the Study of Evolution.  Preparation of this presentation, using a very simple model of population genetics, convinced me that the speculative idea of "indirect selection" could plausibly occur as a real phenomenon.

(1999a)  King, D.G., and M. Soller  Variation and fidelity:  The evolution of simple sequence repeats as functional elements in adjustable genes.  In:  S.P. Wasser, ed., Evolutionary Theory and Processes: Modern Perspectives, pp. 65-82.  Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.  [Abstract]   [email for PDF:]

This essay, published in a festschrift dedicated to Eviatar Nevo, continued our campaign to publicize the evolutionary implications of simple sequence repeats.

(1997d)  King, D.G.  Is there a role for comparative genetics in neuroethology?  International Society for Neuroethology Newsletter, July 1997.

This newsletter article is effectively a preview of a subsequent 2013 article in the same society newsletter.

(1997c)  King, D.G., M. Soller and Y. Kashi  Evolutionary tuning knobsEndeavour 21: 36-40.  [publisher pdf]  [related page]   [email for PDF:]

This essay introduced the "tuning knobs" metaphor for repetitive DNA.  At a 1998 meeting of the New York Academy of Sciences ("Molecular strategies in biological evolution," organized by Lynn Helena Caporale), Ed Trifonov offered the same metaphor.  His surprised response when I showed him our paper led eventually to collaboration on an essay published in 2006, "Tuning knobs in the genome."

(1997b)  Y. Kashi, D.G. King, and M. Soller  Simple sequence repeats as a source of quantitative genetic variation.  Trends in Genetics 13: 74-78.  [Abstract]  [publisher pdf]   [email for PDF:]

This review, my first collaborative publication with Kashi and Soller, helped establish the idea that simple sequence repeats could be significant sources of genetic variation.  It also became my most-cited publication.

(1997a)  King, D.G.  Behavioral adjustments [letter to the editor], American Scientist 85: 300-301.

This letter, addressing an essay in a previous issue of the journal, asked a question:  How can a limited genome permit extraordinarily facile evolution of instinctive behavior?  It then proposed that the answer might involve repetitive DNA.  Alongside this letter, the journal published a response by the authors of the original essay (Osirio, Bacon & Whitington), expressing strongly-worded skepticism.  The basis for their skeptism was fully addressed in several subsequent publications (e.g., 2008), culminating in my 2013 essay for the International Society for Neuroethology.  (For a related, extended discussion, see my 2001 online-only essay, "Evolution of neural circuits.")

(1996)  Krajewski, C. and D.G. King,  Molecular divergence and phylogeny:  Rates and patterns of cytochrome b evolution in cranes.  Molecular Biology and Evolution 13: 21-30.  [Abstract]

For this and a subsequent 1999 paper also authored by Krajewski, my only contribution was the coding of conceptually-simple computer programs which facilitated the comparison of DNA sequences.

(1994)  King, D.G.  Triplet repeat DNA as a highly mutable regulatory mechanism.  Science 263: 595-596.  [publisher pdf]   [email for PDF:]

My re-invention as a theoretical evolutionary geneticist officially began with this brief letter-to-the-editor, staking my claim to the idea that repetitive DNA might confer upon genes the property of evolutionary adjustability.  The appearance of this letter led directly to collaboration with Yechezkel Kashi and Morris Soller on several publications listed above.  (Correspondence with these two Israelis initiated me into the use of email.)

(1991)  King, D.G.  The origin of an organ:  Phylogenetic analysis of evolutionary innovation in the digestive tract of flies (Insecta: Diptera).  Evolution 45:568-588.  [email for PDF:]

This study was probably the most fun of any in my career.  It provided a welcome excuse for outdoor fieldwork, collecting sixty-five species of flies (representing thirty-six families), mostly around the delightful environs of southern Illinois.  And it also provided intense engagement with evolutionary thinking; I became inordinately pleased with myself -- a neuroscientist by training -- for successfully publishing in the journal Evolution.

(1989)  King, D.G.  Phylogenetic diversity of cellular organization in the cardia of muscoid flies (Diptera: Schizophora).  Journal of Morphology 202: 435-455.  [email for PDF:]

This publication set the stage for my 1991 report on the evolutionary origin of the dipteran cardia.  It was based on a collection of various fly species initially intended for exploration of the phylogenetic origin of the Drosophila giant fibers, a study eventually published in the ISN newsletter in 2013.

(1988)  King, D.G.  Cellular organization and peritrophic membrane formation in the cardia (proventriculus) of Drosophila melanogaster.  Journal of Morphology 196: 253-282.  [Abstract] [email for PDF:]

This study was prompted by accidental observation of abnormal cardia development in some behavioral mutants of Drosophila, whereupon I realized that this organ had never received a detailed histological description.  This was my first substantial work that was not grounded on work in the laboratories of my doctoral and post-doctoral advisors.

(1985)  King, D.G.  Metaptation: A descriptive category for evolutionarily versatile patterns of genetic and ontogenetic organization.  Evolutionary Theory 7:222.  [Abstract]  [unpublished ms.]

With this abstract I introduced the neologism "metaptation" as a label for a concept which guided much of my subsequent research.  (Twenty-five years later, at a 2010 meeting in the Czech Republic, I presented a "new, improved" definition for this term.)  This initial effort began a major shift in my career orientation, from neuroscience to evolutionary genetics, which culminated in my 2012 paper on the "Indirect selection of implicit mutational protocols." 

Only this abstract ever appeared in print.  It originally accompanied a lengthy essay which included my first recognition of the plausibility of "evolutionary tuning knobs," an idea that was not published properly until in 1997.  The full "Metaptation" manuscript was submitted to a journal in 1983 where it languished for two years before being rejected.  Meanwhile I had moved on with histological study of fly anatomy. 

(1984)  Wyman, R.J., J.B. Thomas, L. Salkoff, and D.G. King  The escape response of Drosophila melanogaster.  In:  Neural Mechanisms of Startle Behavior (R. Eaton, Ed.), Plenum Press, New York.

My inclusion as an author of this review, based on my participation as a postdoc in Robert Wyman's lab at Yale, was strictly honorary. 

(1983e)  King, D.G.  Review of Genetic Neurobiology, by Hall, Greenspan, & Harris; in Quarterly Review of Biology, 58:286.

When I wrote this very brief book review (less than 1/2 page), genetics was still a fairly new tool for studying nervous systems.  I have since come to believe that additional value can be obtained by using some of the more remarkable features of nervous systems as inspiration for re-thinking certain aspects of genetics (cf, What can giant axons tell us about genetics?, above).

(1983d)  King, D.G. and M.A. Tanouye  Anatomy of motor axons to direct flight muscles in Drosophila.  Journal of Experimental Biology 105: 231-239. [email for PDF:]

(1983c)  Tanouye, M.A. and D.G. King  Giant fiber activation of direct flight muscles in Drosophila.  Journal of Experimental Biology 105: 241-251. [email for PDF:]

Two companion papers were submitted jointly with Mark Tanouye, a friend from our time together in Robert Wyman's lab at Yale.  The one with Tanouye as first author reported physiological recording from Drosophila flight muscles.  The one with me (King) as first author emphasized histological observations of the axons innervating those muscles.  I had been delighted to discover that, in an animal as small as Drosophila, individual motor axons could be traced through serial thin sections all the way from within the central nervous system to sites of synaptic contact within muscles.

(1983b)  King, D.G. and K.L. Valentino  On neuronal homology:  A comparison of similar axons in Musca, Sarcophaga and Drosophila (Diptera:  Schizophora).  Journal of Comparative Neurology 219: 1-9.   [Abstract]

This report established the putative homology of individually identified nerve cells in flies representing three different taxonomic families, and demonstrated that their similarity extended to the level of synaptic location.  Unpublished continution of this work demonstrated the same configuration of synapsing axons in several additional fly species.

At the time this work was being prepared, Ms. Valentino was a student at Yale completing an undergraduate research project in Robert Wyman's lab.

(1983a)  King, D.G.  Evolutionary loss of a neural pathway from the nervous system of a fly (Glossina morsitans, Diptera).  Journal of Morphology 175: 27-32.

Together with the 1983b "On neuronal homology..." paper (above), this publication represented my initial foray into proper comparative study and evolutionary thinking.

(1982b)  King, D.G., N. Kammlade, and J. Murphy  A simple device to help reembed plastic sections.  Stain Technology 57: 307-311.

The title says it all.  Much of my histological study of flies involved serial sections of plastic-embedded flies cut at 2 micrometers thickness; selected sections could then be lifted off their glass slides -- with some help from the gadget described in this report -- and re-sectioned for electron microscopy.  (Ideally, as many as twenty sections for electron microscopy might be cut parallel to the face of one 2μm thick section.)

(1980)  King, D.G. and R.J. Wyman  Anatomy of the giant fiber pathway in Drosophila:  I. Three thoracic components of the pathway.  Journal of Neurocytology 9: 753-770.  [Abstract]

This paper was the centerpiece of my post-doctoral experience with Robert Wyman at Yale, where my attention was redirected from examining identified nerve cells in lobster to investigating the unique giant axons in Drosophila.  I subsequently sought giant axons in numerous other fly species, collecting images which were eventually published in 2013 in a essay entitled "What can giant axons tell us about genetics and evolution?."

(1978)  Wyman, R.J. and D.G. King, The dispersion of imaginal disc progenitor cells in the Drosophila blastoderm.  Genetic Research 31: 273-286.

This somewhat peculiar paper offers a simple mathematical analysis of a simplistic model of the formation of genetic mosaics in Drosophila.  It has, I believe, never been cited.

(1976c)  King, D.G.  Organization of crustacean neuropil:  II. Distribution of synaptic contacts on identified motor neurons in lobster stomatogastric ganglion.  Journal of Neurocytology 5: 239-266.  [Abstract] [email for PDF:]

This paper (together with its companion 1976b, below) comprised my doctoral dissertation.  Remarkably, this paper is still being cited more than 40 years after publication. 

This report is based on a single specimen whose cells had been individually identified electrophysiologically by my dissertation advisor, Allen Selverston.  Serial-sectioning for electron microscopy then enabled reconstruction of the shape of each cell's processes, including the localization of specific synapses.  Cutting, staining, and imaging approximately 5000 sections through a piece of tissue less than a millimeter in length, together with analyzing the resulting micrographs, was by far the most strenuous single piece of work in my career.

The phrase "identified motor neurons" in this paper's title refers to uniquely identifiable nerve cells.  This concept -- still fairly new in the 1970s and remaining relatively unfamiliar even into the 21st century -- became a guiding theme in my subsequent research.  Without realizing it at the time, I was both lucky and privileged to be a student at an institution where "one of the major revolutions in neuroscience" was underway!

(1976b)  King, D.G. Organization of crustacean neuropil:  I. Patterns of synaptic connections in lobster stomatogastric ganglion.  Journal of Neurocytology 5: 207-237.  [Abstract]  [email for PDF:]

This paper (together with its companion 1976c, above) comprised my doctoral dissertation, completed with extensive support through the laboratory of Allen Selverston at the University of California, San Diego.

(1976a)  Selverston, A., D.R. Russell, J.P. Miller, and D.G. King,  The stomatogastric nervous system:  Structure and function of a small neural network.  Progress in Neurobiology 7: 215-290.  [This is a review of work prior to 1976.  [A more recent review is The Crustacean Stomatogastric System, Springer-Verlag 1987.]

For decades, several laboratories around the world have been intensively investigating the stomatogastric ganglion of the spiny lobster -- a model system for analyzing the mechanisms of motor pattern generation.  I completed my own graduate study at one center for such study, Allen Selverston's lab at UC San Diego.  My contribution to this review of work up to 1976 was a single-chapter preview of my doctoral dissertation, published separately and in greater detail as the two 1976 publications listed immediately above.

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