Wen-Hsiung Li

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Wen-Hsiung Li
Wen Hsiung Li

(1942-09-22) September 22, 1942 (age 77)
Alma materBrown University, Providence, RI, USA
National Central University, Taiwan
Chung-Yuang College of Science and Engineering, Taiwan
Known forMale-Driven Evolution[1][2][3]
Molecular clock[4]
AwardsBalzan Prize for Genetics and Evolution (2003)[6]
Mendel Medal (2009)[7]
Scientific career
Evolutionary Biology
InstitutionsUniversity of Chicago
Academia Sinica
University of Texas
University of Wisconsin-Madison
ThesisMathematical Studies On Mutational Damages In Finite Populations (1972)
Doctoral advisorWendell Fleming
Other academic advisorsMasatoshi Nei
WebsiteLi Laboratory at University of Chicago
Wen Hsiung Li Profile at Academia Sinica

Wen-Hsiung Li (Chinese: 李文雄; born 1942) is a Taiwanese-American scientist working in the fields of molecular evolution, population genetics, and genomics. He is currently the James Watson Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago and a Principal Investigator at the Institute of Information Science and Genomics Research Center, Academia Sinica, Taiwan.


Li was born in 1942 in Taiwan. In 1968 he received a M.S. in geophysics from National Central University. In 1972 he received his Ph.D in applied mathematics at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. From 1972 to 1973 he was a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Wisconsin Madison (genetics), working with James F. Crow. In 1973 he moved to the University of Texas, where he was appointed as a professor in 1984. Since 1998 he has been a professor at The University of Chicago.

Scientific contributions

Professor Li is best known for his studies on the molecular clock (i.e. rates and patterns of DNA sequence evolution) and on the patterns and consequences of gene duplication.

In 2003, he received the international Balzan Prize for his contribution to genetics and evolutionary biology, and was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, who cited his role in "establishing theoretical foundations for molecular phylogenetics and evolutionary genomics"[1]. He is the author of the first texts in the field of molecular evolution, Molecular Evolution and Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution (co-authored with Dan Graur), and an author on more than 200 peer-reviewed publications.


  • Academician, Academia Sinica Taiwan, 1998
  • Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, 1999
  • President of the “Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution”, 2000
  • Member, National Academy of Sciences, 2003
  • Balzan prize 2003 for genetics and evolution (The third recipient, following Sewall Wright (1984) and John Maynard Smith (1991)).
  • Inaugural HUGO/ "Chen Award" for Achievement in Human Genetic and Genomic Research, 2008
  • 2019 SMBE Motoo Kimura Lifetime Contribution Award "SMBE Motoo Kimura Lifetime Contribution Award". Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution. Society of Molecular Biology and Evolution. Retrieved April 12, 2019.</ref>.

Selected publications

Selected books

  • Li, W.-H. (2006). Molecular Evolution. Sinauer. ISBN 0-87893-480-4.
  • Dan Graur; Wen-Hsiung Li (2000). Fundamentals of Molecular Evolution: Second Edition. Sinauer Associates, Inc.


  1. ^ Shimmin, L. C.; Chang, B. H. J.; Li, W. H. (1993). "Male-driven evolution of DNA sequences". Nature. 362 (6422): 745–7. doi:10.1038/362745a0. PMID 8469284.
  2. ^ Makova, K. D.; Li, W. H. (2002). "Strong male-driven evolution of DNA sequences in humans and apes". Nature. 416 (6881): 624–6. doi:10.1038/416624a. PMID 11948348.
  3. ^ "Males' DNA propels evolution, study says". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved June 1, 2014.
  4. ^ Lewin, R. (1985). "Molecular clocks scrutinized". Science. 228 (4699): 571. doi:10.1126/science.3983640.
  5. ^ Li, W. H.; Gu, Z.; Wang, H.; Nekrutenko, A. (2001). "Evolutionary analyses of the human genome". Nature. 409 (6822): 847–9. doi:10.1038/35057039. PMID 11237007.
  6. ^ "Balzan Prize for Genetics and Evolution". International Balzan Prize Foundation website. International Balzan Prize Foundation. Retrieved February 8, 2014.
  7. ^ "Mendel Medal". The Genetics Society website. The Genetics Society. Retrieved February 8, 2014.

External links