Nate Sutter
Nate Sutter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology


  • Ph.D., Genetics, University of Washington and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 2001
  • Post doctoral training with Dr. Elaine Ostrander at the National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health, 2007
  • B.S., Biology, minor in Mathematics, La Sierra University, 1994

Principal Research Interests

The Sutter lab investigates the genetic basis of evolutionary and phenotypic change in domestic mammals. Our broad goal is to understand how evolutionary forces, intense selection, drift and draft have altered the genomes of domestic mammal species and created a rich diversity in many complex traits such as body size and shape. For example, why do some dogs weigh two pounds while others weigh 200 pounds? To address these questions we have, with our collaborators, mapped quantitative trait loci contributing to size variation in both dogs and horses. We are also presently hunting for genes controlling rabbit body size variation. In a second series of experiments, we aim to characterize at genome scale the short interspersed elements (SINEs) resident in the genomes of dogs, horses and rabbits. We hypothesize that these “genome parasites” provide functional genetic variation upon which intense selection can act to enable rapid alteration in complex traits like size.

Research Area: 

  • Genetic basis of body size
  • Domestic mammal genetics 
  • Retrotransposons

Phone: 951-785-2107
Building: Price Science Complex, Rm. 102


  • President's Award, La Sierra University, 1994
  • Graduate Research Fellowship, National Science Foundation, 1995-1997
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship, the Waltham Foundation, 2002-2004
  • National Human Genome Research Institute Intramural Research Award, 2005
  • Rising Star Alumnus Award, La Sierra University, 2008


  1. Makvandi-Nejad S, Hoffman GE, Allen JJ, Chu E, Gu E, Chandler AM, Loredo AI, Bellone RR, Mezey JG, Brooks SA, Sutter NB. Four Loci Explain 83% of Size Variation in the Horse. PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e39929. doi: (2010.1371/journal.pone.0039929. Epub 2012 Jul 11.
  2. Hoopes BC, Rimbault M, Liebers D, Ostrander EA, Sutter NB. The Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 Receptor (IGF1R) Contributes to Reduced Size in Dogs. Mamm Genome. 2012 Dec;23(11-12):780-90. doi: 10.1007/s00335-012-9417-z. Epub 2012 Aug 18.
  3. Powell JA, Allen J, Sutter NB. DOG-SPOT Database for Comprehensive Management of Dog Genetic Research Data. (2010). Source Code Biol Med. Dec 15;5:10.
  4. Brooks SA, Makvandi-Nejad S, Chu E, Allen JJ, Streeter C, Gu E, McCleery B, Murphy BA, Bellone R, Sutter NB. Morphological Variation in the Horse: Defining Complex Traits of Body Size and Shape. (2010). Anim Genet. Dec;41 Suppl 2:159-65.
  5. Sutter NB, Bustamante CD, Chase K, Gray MM, Zhao K, Zhu L, 
  6. Padhukasahasram B, Karlins E, Davis S, Jones PG, Quignon P, Johnson GS, ParkerHG, Fretwell N, Mosher DS, Lawler DF, Satyaraj E, Nordborg M, Lark KG, WayneRK, Ostrander EA. A Single IGF1 Allele Is a Major Determinant of Small Size in Dogs. (2007). Science. 316(5821):112-115