Richard L. Borowsky

Richard L. Borowsky

Professor of Biology

Ph.D. 1969 (Biology), M.Phil. 1967 (Biology), Yale; B.A. 1964 (Biology), Queens College.

Office Address: 

New York University
Department of Biology
1009 Silver Center
100 Washington Square East
New York, NY 10003-6688


(212) 998-8260


(212) 995-4015

Areas of Research/Interest: 

The evolution and genetics of cave fish with an emphasis on understanding the molecular and developmental bases of adaptation and the "eyeless" condition.

List of Publications from Pubmed



The Cave Biology Research Group concentrates on the molecular evolution and genetics of cave fishes. Current projects include genomic mapping of the QTL (quantitative trait loci) responsible for developmental changes in eyes, pigmentation and metabolism in Astyanax cave fish from Mexico and molecular phylogenetic studies of the balitorid cave fishes of SE Asia. The laboratory also engages in an active program of field research, with current efforts in Thailand, Mexico and Brazil.

The main teaching activity is the coordination of the undergraduate Principles of Biology course.

External Affiliations:

American Society of Human Genetics; Genetics Society of America; Society for the Study of Evolution; American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists; American Society of Naturalists; National Speleological Society; Sociedad Mexicana de Exploraciones Subterraneas (SMES); Fellow, The Explorers Club.


National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship; SFB Fellow, Theodor Boveri Institute, W├╝rzburg, 1994.

Selected Works:

PubMed Search Results:

Melanocortin 4 receptor mutations contribute to the adaptation of cavefish to nutrient-poor conditions.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A   (2015 Aug 04);  PMC4534248 free full-text archive
Aspiras AC, Rohner N, Martineau B, Borowsky RL, Tabin CJ
Distinct genetic architecture underlies the emergence of sleep loss and prey-seeking behavior in the Mexican cavefish.
BMC Biol   (2015 Feb 20);  PMC4364459 free full-text archive
Yoshizawa M, Robinson BG, Duboue ER, Masek P, Jaggard JB, O'Quin KE, Borowsky RL, Jeffery WR, Keene AC
The cavefish genome reveals candidate genes for eye loss.
Nat Commun   (2014 Oct 20);  PMC4218959 free full-text archive
McGaugh SE, Gross JB, Aken B, Blin M, Borowsky R, Chalopin D, Hinaux H, Jeffery WR, Keene A, Ma L, Minx P, Murphy D, O'Quin KE, Retaux S, Rohner N, Searle SM, Stahl BA, Tabin C, Volff JN, Yoshizawa M, Warren WC
Cryptic variation in morphological evolution: HSP90 as a capacitor for loss of eyes in cavefish.
Science   (2013 Dec 13);  PMC4004346 free full-text archive
Rohner N, Jarosz DF, Kowalko JE, Yoshizawa M, Jeffery WR, Borowsky RL, Lindquist S, Tabin CJ
Genomic consequences of ecological speciation in astyanax cavefish.
PLoS One   (2013);  PMC3833966 free full-text archive
Borowsky R, Cohen D
Convergence in feeding posture occurs through different genetic loci in independently evolved cave populations of Astyanax mexicanus.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A   (2013 Oct 15);  PMC3801050 free full-text archive
Kowalko JE, Rohner N, Linden TA, Rompani SB, Warren WC, Borowsky R, Tabin CJ, Jeffery WR, Yoshizawa M
Loss of schooling behavior in cavefish through sight-dependent and sight-independent mechanisms.
Curr Biol   (2013 Oct 07);  PMC3904651 free full-text archive
Kowalko JE, Rohner N, Rompani SB, Peterson BK, Linden TA, Yoshizawa M, Kay EH, Weber J, Hoekstra HE, Jeffery WR, Borowsky R, Tabin CJ
The population genomics of repeated evolution in the blind cavefish Astyanax mexicanus.
Mol Biol Evol   (2013 Nov);  PMC3808867 free full-text archive
Bradic M, Teotonio H, Borowsky RL
Eye regression in blind Astyanax cavefish may facilitate the evolution of an adaptive behavior and its sensory receptors.
BMC Biol   (2013 Jul 11);  PMC3726320 free full-text archive
Borowsky R
beta-adrenergic signaling regulates evolutionarily derived sleep loss in the Mexican cavefish.
Brain Behav Evol   (2012);   PMID: 22922609
Duboue ER, Borowsky RL, Keene AC
Altered rest-activity patterns evolve via circadian independent mechanisms in cave adapted balitorid loaches.
PLoS One   (2012);  PMC3278411 free full-text archive
Duboue ER, Borowsky RL
Gene flow and population structure in the Mexican blind cavefish complex (Astyanax mexicanus).
BMC Evol Biol   (2012 Jan 23);  PMC3282648 free full-text archive
Bradic M, Beerli P, Garcia-de Leon FJ, Esquivel-Bobadilla S, Borowsky RL
Evolutionary convergence on sleep loss in cavefish populations.
Curr Biol   (2011 Apr 26);   PMID: 21474315
Duboue ER, Keene AC, Borowsky RL
A novel role for Mc1r in the parallel evolution of depigmentation in independent populations of the cavefish Astyanax mexicanus.
PLoS Genet   (2009 Jan);  PMC2603666 free full-text archive
Gross JB, Borowsky R, Tabin CJ
Synteny and candidate gene prediction using an anchored linkage map of Astyanax mexicanus.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A   (2008 Dec 23);  PMC2629299 free full-text archive
Gross JB, Protas M, Conrad M, Scheid PE, Vidal O, Jeffery WR, Borowsky R, Tabin CJ
Multi-trait evolution in a cave fish, Astyanax mexicanus.
Evol Dev   (2008 Mar-Apr);   PMID: 18315813
Protas M, Tabansky I, Conrad M, Gross JB, Vidal O, Tabin CJ, Borowsky R
Restoring sight in blind cavefish.
Curr Biol   (2008 Jan 08);   PMID: 18177707
Borowsky R
Breeding Astyanax mexicanus through Natural Spawning.
CSH Protoc   (2008 Nov 01);   PMID: 21356731
Borowsky R
Astyanax mexicanus, the Blind Mexican Cave Fish: A Model for Studies in Development and Morphology.
CSH Protoc   (2008 Nov 01);   PMID: 21356710
Borowsky R
Construction of bacterial artificial chromosome libraries for the Lake Malawi cichlid (Metriaclima zebra), and the blind cavefish (Astyanax mexicanus).
Zebrafish   (2007 Spring);   PMID: 18041941
Di Palma F, Kidd C, Borowsky R, Kocher TD
Regressive evolution in the Mexican cave tetra, Astyanax mexicanus.
Curr Biol   (2007 Mar 06);  PMC2570642 free full-text archive
Protas M, Conrad M, Gross JB, Tabin C, Borowsky R
Genetic analysis of cavefish reveals molecular convergence in the evolution of albinism.
Nat Genet   (2006 Jan);   PMID: 16341223
Protas ME, Hersey C, Kochanek D, Zhou Y, Wilkens H, Jeffery WR, Zon LI, Borowsky R, Tabin CJ
Mapping a cave fish genome: polygenic systems and regressive evolution.
J Hered   (2002 Jan-Feb);   PMID: 12011170
Borowsky R, Wilkens H
Nucleotide diversity in populations of balitorid cave fishes from Thailand.
Mol Ecol   (2001 Dec);   PMID: 11903893
Borowsky RL, Vidthayanon C
Localization of a CDKN2 gene in linkage group V of Xiphophorus fishes defines it as a candidate for the DIFF tumor suppressor.
Genes Chromosomes Cancer   (1998 Jul);   PMID: 9624532
Kazianis S, Gutbrod H, Nairn RS, McEntire BB, Della Coletta L, Walter RB, Borowsky RL, Woodhead AD, Setlow RB, Schartl M, Morizot DC
Evolutionary divergence of AP-PCR (RAPD) patterns.
Mol Biol Evol   (1998 Apr);   PMID: 9549091
Espinasa L, Borowsky R
Genetic mapping in Xiphophorus hybrid fish: assignment of 43 AP-PCR/RAPD and isozyme markers to multipoint linkage groups.
Genome Res   (1996 Apr);   PMID: 8723721
Kazianis S, Morizot DC, McEntire BB, Nairn RS, Borowsky RL
Arbitrarily primed DNA fingerprinting for phylogenetic reconstruction in vertebrates: the Xiphophorus model.
Mol Biol Evol   (1995 Nov);   PMID: 8524037
Borowsky RL, McClelland M, Cheng R, Welsh J
Stable association of a pigmentation allele with an oncogene: nonhybrid melanomas in Xiphophorus variatus.
J Hered   (1995 May-Jun);   PMID: 7608512
Kazianis S, Borowsky R
Spontaneous melanoma formation in nonhybrid Xiphophorus.
Cancer Res   (1995 Jan 01);   PMID: 7805027
Schartl A, Malitschek B, Kazianis S, Borowsky R, Schartl M
Social Inhibition of Maturation in Natural Populations of Xiphophorus variatus (Pisces: Poeciliidae).
Science   (1978 Sep 08);   PMID: 17729573
Borowsky R
Melanomas in Xiphophorus variatus (Pisces, Poeciliidae) in the absence of hybridization.
Experientia   (1973 Nov 15);   PMID: 4761265
Borowsky R
Updated on 01/04/2017