Walter M. Fitch Prize

Beginning with the first annual meeting of the SMBE in 1993, the Walter M. Fitch Symposium has provided a forum for young investigators. The Walter M. Fitch Prize honors the best presentation in this symposium.

Awardees of the Walter M. Fitch Prize

Year Awardee Institution Title
1993 Youn-Ho Lee University of California at San Diego, USA The divergence of species-specific abalone sperm lysin is promoted by positive Darwinian selection: Implications regarding speciation
1994 Alan Cooper Smithsonian Institution, USA Avian evolution in New Zealand as revealed by mitochondrial DNA
1995 Hiroki Oota University of Tokyo, Japan Phylogenetic analysis of 2,000 year old human remains of Japan (Yayoi period) based on mitochondrial DNA sequences
1996 Dmitri A. Petrov Harvard University, USA Birth and death of processed pseudogenes in Drosophila: Molecular evolution of a non-LTR retrotransposable element
1997 Christiane Biermann State University of New York at Stony Brook, USA Sequence variation in the sea urchin sperm protein BINDIN is generated by recombination and length mutations
  Paul Taylor University of Leicester, UK Diversity and mutational analyses of the Y-specific mini-satellite, MSY1
1998 Mark Siegal Harvard University, USA Functional evolutionary analysis of genes coplaced into the Drosophila genome
1999 Dennis Lavrov University of Michigan, USA Arthropod phylogeny based on gene arrangement and other characters from mitochondrial DNA
2000 Eric A. Gaucher University of Florida, USA Functional analysis of proteins using covarion-based evolutionary approaches: Elongation factors
2001 Jeffrey Townsend Harvard University, USA Global gene expression variation in natural isolates of Saccharomyces cerevisiae
2002 Ying Chen University of Munich, Germany Functional analysis of phylogenetically conserved sequence elements in intron 1 of the Drosophila melanogaster Adh gene
2019 Yoav Gilad Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany Loss of olfactory receptor genes is coupled to the acquisition of full trichromatic color vision


Members of the SMBE who are either current graduate students or postdoctoral researchers and who received the primary doctoral-level degree no earlier than one year before the first day of the month of an annual meeting are eligible for the Fitch Prize awarded at that meeting.

Memberships with or without a subscription to the Journal are available (see


On the basis of abstracts submitted to the Chair of the Fitch Prize committee, the committee selects about 10 individuals to enter the competition. Contestants may receive partial travel support from the Society.