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Warren E. Johnson, Ph.D.

Conservation Geneticist
B.A., Oberlin College; M.S., Utah State University; Ph.D., Iowa State
Warren Johnson is a conservation geneticist at the Smithsonian's Conservation Biology Institute's (SCBI) Center for Species Survival and at the Smithsonian Institute for Biodiversity Genomics. Johnson focuses on using genomic approaches in innovative ways to increase our understanding of the evolutionary history of species, to develop strategies that promote the active management of wildlife populations, and to help train and empower the next-generation user. Johnson often addresses evolutionary questions in model organisms or natural populations with research that has a strong biomedical/veterinary component.
Johnson’s work, in collaboration with colleagues around the world, has been instrumental to our understanding of the evolutionary foundations of diverse groups, including felids and primates, and of endangered species and populations, such as the Florida panther, Andean mountain cat, tiger, cheetah, Darwin’s fox, and the guanaco. His work is international in scope and frequently encompasses fieldwork of species in their natural habitats. Johnson has been a member of the IUCN felid and canid specialist groups and has served on the editorial Board of Journal of Heredity since 2007 and plays an integral role in the G10K project assisting international genomic initiatives.
Johnson received his Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Oberlin College, his Master of Science at Utah State University studying coyote social behavior, and his doctorate in Animal Ecology from Iowa State University. During his doctoral field research he was administrator of the Iowa State University Patagonia Wildlife Research Center in Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. There, he led studies on the predator/prey community, including the Patagonia puma, foxes, small cats, guanacos and numerous bird and rodent species. Before joining the Smithsonian, Johnson spent 20 years at the National Cancer Institute of NIH in the Laboratory of Genomic Diversity.
Recent Publications: 
de Manuel, Marc, Barnett, Ross, Sandoval-Velasco, Marcela, Yamaguchi, Nobuyuki, Vieira, Filipe Garrett, Mendoza, M. Lisandra Zepeda, Liu, Shiping, Martin, Michael D., Sinding, Mikkel-Holger S., Mak, Sarah S. T., Caroe, Christian, Liu, Shanlin, Guo, Chunxue, Zheng, Jiao, Zazula, Grant, Baryshnikov, Gennady, Eizirik, Eduardo, Koepfli, Klaus-Peter, Johnson, Warren E., Antunes, Agostinho, Sicheritz-Ponten, Thomas, Gopalakrishnan, Shyam, Larson, Greger, Yang, Huanming, O'Brien, Stephen J., et al. 2020. The evolutionary history of extinct and living lions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 10927-10934. https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1919423117
González, Benito A., Agapito, Ana María, Novoa-Muñoz, Francisco, Vianna, Juliana, Johnson, Warren E. and Marín, Juan Carlos. 2020. Utility of genetic variation in coat color genes to distinguish wild, domestic and hybrid South American camelids for forensic and judicial applications. Forensic Science International.Genetics, Article 10226. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fsigen.2019.102226
Varas, Valeria, Pablo Vasquez, Juan, Rivera, Romina, Longo, Andrea, Valdecantos, Pablo A., Wheeler, Jane C., Johnson, Warren E. and Carlos Marin, Juan. 2020. Interbreeding among South American camelids threatens species integrity. Journal of Arid Environments, 104249-104249. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jaridenv.2020.104249