Dr. Derr Biosketch
Dr. Jim Derr grew up in Enid, Oklahoma, just north of a small
town of Bison. He spend a great deal of time outdoors, helping with
his family farm, hunting and fishing. In college, Derr studied
biology with an eye to being a wildlife manager. But along this
path he realized that his passion was in understanding the genetics
underlying the differences between species. Academically, he
started taking genetics courses and eventually received a PhD in
this field. He has been a professor at Texas A&M University in
College Station for the last 20 years.
In the 1990s, he was the principal investigator on a proposal to
investigate conservation genetic issues in current populations of
American bison. These studies are important in conservation biology
because of the well documented population crash and recovery of
this species over the last 125 years. Unlike many other species
that have bounced back from small numbers, most bison populations
have retained healthy levels of genetic diversity and have escaped
the problems most species encounter when attempting to inbreed
their way out of a very low population numbers. This body of work
was recently detailed in an article by Emma Marris in the
scientific journal Nature in the February 2009 issue.
Dr. Jim Derr's research involves applying molecular genetics
technology to problems involving conservation genetics, population
genetics, gene mapping of economically important traits and the
genetics of disease resistance in domesticated livestock and
wildlife. Over the last decade his laboratory has investigated
these issues in North American bison, domestic cattle, domestic
goats, humans, bowhead whales and bottlenose dolphins.
Relying on over two decades of experience working with North
American wildlife and domestic livestock, Dr. Derr has set his goal
to bring the same conservation genetic technologies to multiple
African species spanning sub-Saharan Africa. This effort is a
merging of passion with profession.
Research Grant Highlights
For a complete CV and listing of all grants please click here .
- Molecular and Population Genetics of Colombian Criollo cattle.
J.N. Derr, S.K. Davis, J.L. Estrada, F. Ariza, J.E. Ossa, A.R.
Linares. Agency: COLCIENCIAS, Bogota, Colombia. (1995 - 2000)
- Conservation Genetics of Bowhead Whales. J.N. Derr (PI) and
A.P. Rooney. Agency: Department of Wildlife Management, North Slope
Borough, Barrow, AK. (1996 - 1998)
- American Bison as a Model for the Conservation of
Megavertebrate Populations. J.N. Derr (PI) and J.W. Templeton.
Agency: National Science Foundation (1996 - 1999)
- Development of a Genetic Based Breeding Program for the Texas
State Bison Herd. J.N. Derr PI. Texas Parks and Wildlife, Austin,
Texas. (2001 - 2002).
- The Application of Conservation Genetics to the Long-term
Management of Bison in Five National Parks. J.N. Derr and J.W.
Templeton. Agency: Department of Interior, US Geological Service
and the National Park Service. (2000-2004)
- The Role of the Ft. Niobrara Wildlife Refuge and Sully's Hill
Wildlife Preserve in the Long-Term Management of Federal Bison
Herds. J. Derr PI and J. Templeton. The U.S. Department of the
Interior, U.S. Geological Survey & the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
Service. (2002 - 2003).
- Development of a Genetic Based Breeding Program for the
Badlands National Park Bison Herd. The Department of the Interior,
US. J.N. Derr PI. (2005 - 2007).
- Remove Threats To Irreplaceable Bison Herd At Wind Cave
National Park. J. Derr and N. Halbert. The National Park Service FY
2006 Challenge Cost Share Program through Wind Cave National Park,
(2007 - 2008).
- Bison Herd Genetic Architecture and Management - Working Toward
a Species-Wide Conservation Approach. The Nature Conservancy - RJ
Kose funding for Conservation Biology. Bob Hamilton (TNC), co-PI,
J. Derr (Co-PI) and N. Halbert. (2008 - 2009).
- A Systematic Approach to African Wildlife Conservation
Genetics. The Dallas Safari Club. J. Derr (PI), J. Lane Easter and