Adam McLain

Adam McLain

Adam McLain
Assistant Professor


Phone Number:
Office Address:
Donovan Hall
Biology + Chemistry Department
College of Arts + Sciences


Ph.D., Biology, Louisiana State University, 2013
M.A., Anthropology, Hunter College of the City University of New York, 2009
B.A., History, Virginia Tech, 2002

Research Interests

My lab’s research is predominantly focused on the evolutionary history and population genetics of lemurs, Strepshirrine primates endemic to the island of Madagascar. Madagascar is a biodiversity hotspot under critical threat from human activity, and most lemur species are endangered due to habitat destruction and poaching. I use a combination of fieldwork, laboratory and computational biology to look at evolutionary relationships between species and the genetics of endangered populations. I am hopeful that one result of this research might be better protection for lemurs and the environments they occupy, and a secure future for them in a world with ever-fewer wild places. Some specific, ongoing areas of research include speciation in dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleus), DNA methylation and primate lifespan, and mobile DNA in the aye-aye (Daubentonia) genome. I am a member of the Mouse Lemur Genome Project based out of Baylor University, as well as a member of the Strategic Planning Committee of the Utica Zoo. In 2017, colleagues and I identified a new species of dwarf lemur, the Groves’ dwarf lemur (C. grovesi) from southeastern Madagascar.

Selected Publications

McLain, AT & C Faulk. 2018. The evolution of CpG density and lifespan in conserved primate and mammalian promoters. Aging. (

McLain, AT, R Lei, CL Frasier, JM Taylor, CA Bailey, B Roberts, SD Nash, R Randriamampionona, RA Mittermeier, and EE Louis, Jr. 2017. A new Cheirogaleus (Cheirogaleidae: Cheirogaleus crossleyi Group) Species from Southeastern Madagascar. Primate Conservation (31).

Lei, R, CL Fraiser, MTR Hawkins, SE Engberg, CA Bailey, SE Johnson, AT McLain, CP Groves, GH Perry, SD Nash, RA Mittermeier, and EE Louis, Jr. 2016. Phylogenomic reconstruction of the sportive lemurs (genus Lepilemur) recovered from mitogenomes with inferences for Madagascar biogeography. Journal of Heredity 108 (2): 107-119. Cover.

Frasier, CL, R Lei, AT McLain, JM Taylor, CA Bailey, AL Ginter, SD Nash, R. Randriamampionona, CP Groves, RA Mittermeier, and EE Louis, Jr. 2016. A new species of the Cheirogaleus medius group (Cheirogaleidae) from the Ankarana and Andrafiamena-Andavakoera Massifs, Madagascar. Primate Conservation (30).

Brenneman, RA, AT McLain, JR Zaonarivelo, R Lei, SM McGuire, R Andriantompohavana, and EE Louis, Jr. 2016. Genetic analysis of the genus Indri reveals a single monotypic species (I. indri) with no evidence in support of distinct subspecies. International Journal of Primatology 37 (3): 460-477.

Bailey, CA, AT McLain, G Rakotoarisoa, A Razafindrakoto, SM McGuire, GD Shore, R Lei, SR Paquette, JC Randriamanana, JD Rabekianja, RA Brenneman, and EE Louis, Jr. 2016. Impact of ascertainment bias on the population genetic analysis of three sifaka species from northern Madagascar: Implications for the critically endangered Perrier’s sifaka (Propithecus perrieri). Journal of Primatology.

Lei, R, AT McLain, CL Frasier, JM Taylor, CA Bailey, SE Engberg, AL Ginter, SD Nash, R Randriamampionona, CP Groves, RA Mittermeier, and EE Louis, Jr. 2015. A new species in the Genus Cheirogaleus (Cheirogaleidae). Primate Conservation (29). Cover.

Lei, R, CL Frasier, AT McLain, JM Taylor, CA Bailey, SE Engberg, AL Ginter, CP Groves, RA Mittermeier, and EE Louis, Jr. 2014. Revision of Madagascar’s dwarf lemurs (Cheirogaleidae: Cheirogaleus): designation of species, candidate species status and geographic boundaries based on molecular and morphological data. Primate Conservation (28): 9-35.

McLain, AT, GW Carman*, ML Fullerton*, TO Beckstrom*, W Gensler*, TJ Meyer, C Faulk, and MA Batzer. 2013. Analysis of western lowland gorilla (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) specific Alu repeats. Mobile DNA 4:26. (Highly Accessed).

McLain, AT, TJ Meyer, C Faulk, S Herke, JM Oldenburg*, MG Bourgeois*, C Abshire*, C Roos and MA Batzer. 2012. An Alu-based phylogeny of lemurs (Infraorder: Lemuriformes). PLoS ONE 7(8): e44035. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044035.

Meyer, TJ, AT McLain, JM Oldenburg*, C Faulk, MG Bourgeois, EM Conlin*, AR Mootnick, PJ de Jong, C Roos, L Carbone and MA Batzer. 2012. An Alu-based phylogeny of gibbons (Hylobatidae). Molecular Biology and Evolution. 29 (11): 3441-3450.


Courses taught at SUNY Poly include BIO 103 Introduction to Biology for Majors (Lecture & Lab), BIO 380 Evolution, BIO 401 Phylogenetics and BIO 490 Primatology.


Twitter: @TheLemurGuy




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