CMMB Program Faculty

John McCutcheon

John McCutcheon

Associate Professor

Office: ISB 309

Personal Website


Every fall: Genomics, BIOB 486 (w/ Jeff Good)

Every spring: Programming for Genomics, BIOB 491


B.S., Biochemistry, University of Wisconsin—Madison, 1996

M.S., Human Genetics, University of Utah, 2000

Ph.D., Computational Biology, Washington University in St. Louis, 2006

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Arizona, 2006-2010

Research Interests

Symbiosis and genome evolution


[Only publications since 2011 are listed.]

Matsuura Y, Moriyama M, Łukasik P, Vanderpool D, Tanahashi M, Meng X-Y, McCutcheon JP, Fukatsu T. 2018. Recurrent symbiont recruitment from fungal parasites in cicadas. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 115:E5970-E5979.

McCutcheon JP. 2018. Nancy A. Moran: the winding path of a brilliant scientific life, p 213-217. In Whitaker RJ, Barton HA (ed), Women in Microbiology. American Society for Microbiology, Washington, DC. 

Łukasik P, Nazario K, Van Leuven JT, Campbell MA, Meyer M, Michalik A, Pessacq P, Simon C, Veloso C, McCutcheon JP. 2018. Multiple origins of interdependent endosymbiotic complexes in a genus of cicadas. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 115:E226-E235.

Husník F, McCutcheon JP. 2017. Functional horizontal gene transfer from bacteria to eukaryotes. Nature Reviews Microbiology 16:67–79.

Vanderpool D, Bracewell R, McCutcheon JP. 2017. Know your farmer: ancient origins and multiple independent domestications of ambrosia beetle fungal cultivars. Molecular Ecology doi:10.1111/mec.14394.

Campbell MA, Łukasik P, Simon C, McCutcheon JP. 2017. Idiosyncratic genome degradation in a bacterial endosymbiont of periodical cicadas. Current Biology 27:3568–3575.

Keeling PJ, McCutcheon JP. 2017. Endosymbiosis: the feeling is not mutual. Journal of Theoretical Biology 434:75-79.

Husník F, McCutcheon JP. 2016. Repeated replacement of an intrabacterial symbiont in the tripartite nested mealybug symbiosis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 113:E5416–E5424.

Spribille T, Tuovinen V, Resl P, Vanderpool D, Wolinski H, Aime MC, Schneider K, Stabentheiner E, Toome-Heller M, Thor G, Mayrhofer H, Johannesson H, McCutcheon JP. 2016. Basidiomycete yeasts in the cortex of ascomycete macrolichens. Science 353:488-492.

McCutcheon JP. 2016. From microbiology to cell biology: when an intracellular bacterium becomes part of its host cell. Current Opinion in Cell Biology 41:132-136.

Bennett GM, McCutcheon JP, McDonald BR, Moran NA. 2015. Lineage-specific patterns of genome deterioration in obligate symbionts of sharpshooter leafhoppers. Genome Biology and Evolution 8:296-301.

Keeling PJ, McCutcheon JP, Doolittle WF. 2015. Symbiosis becoming permanent: survival of the luckiest. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112:10101-10103.

Campbell MA, Van Leuven JT, Meister RC, Carey KM, Simon C, McCutcheon JP. 2015. Genome expansion via lineage splitting and genome reduction in the cicada endosymbiont HodgkiniaProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 112:10192-10199.

Hallam SJ, McCutcheon JP. 2015. Microbes don’t play solitaire: how cooperation trumps isolation in the microbial world. Environmental Microbiology Reports 7:26–28.

Bennett GM, McCutcheon JP, McDonald BR, Romanovicz D, Moran NA. 2014. Differential genome evolution between companion symbionts in an insect-bacteria symbiosis. mBio 5:e01697-14. 

Van Leuven JT, Meister RC, Simon C, McCutcheon JP. 2014. Sympatric speciation in a bacterial endosymbiont results in two genomes with the functionality of one. Cell 158:1270-1280. 

McCutcheon JP and Keeling, PJ. 2014. Endosymbiosis: protein targeting further erodes the organelle/symbiont distinction. Current Biology 24:R654–R655.

Duncan RP, Husnik F, Van Leuven JT, Gilbert D, Davalos, L, McCutcheon JP, Wilson ACC. 2013. Dynamic recruitment of amino acid transporters to the insect-symbiont interface. Molecular Ecology 23:1608–1623.

McCutcheon JP. 2013. Genome evolution: a bacterium with a Napoleon complex. Current Biology 23:R657–R659.

Brown AMV, Nelson K, Bolender C, McCutcheon JP. 2013. Population genomics of a symbiont in the early stages of a pest invasion. Molecular Ecology 23:1516–1530.

Husník F, Nikoh N, Koga R, Ross L, Duncan RP, Fujie M, Tanaka M, Satoh N, Bachtrog D, Wilson ACC, von Dohlen CD, Fukatsu T, McCutcheon JP. 2013. Horizontal gene transfer from diverse bacteria to an insect genome enables a tripartite nested mealybug symbiosis. Cell 153:1567–1578. 

Van Leuven JT and McCutcheon JP. 2012. An AT mutational bias in the tiny GC-rich endosymbiont genome of HodgkiniaGenome Biology and Evolution 4:24-27.

McCutcheon JP and Moran NA. 2012. Extreme genome reduction in symbiotic bacteria. Nature Reviews Microbiology 10:13-26.

McCutcheon JP and von Dohlen CD. 2011. An interdependent metabolic patchwork in the nested three-way symbiosis of mealybugs. Current Biology 21:1366-1372.

Specialized Research Interests

Microbial genomics and symbiosis


Fellow, Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, Program in Integrative Microbial Biodiversity