Professor of Evolutionary Genetics
School of Biological Sciences
Key Research Interests
I am an evolutionary geneticist interested in understanding how reproductive traits evolve and function at a mechanistic level. A core interest is in evaluating the potential of sexual selection and sexual conflict for driving evolutionary change and in understanding the underlying mechanisms involved. Fruitflies provide an exceptionally good model, with relevance to pest control, for the study of sexual conflict and sexual selection. We have studied in detail the actions of seminal fluid proteins, which evolve at exceptionally high rates and have striking, fitness-related functions.
Current Research Projects
- The genetic basis of sexual conflict in fruitflies
- Role of sexual conflict in ageing
- Regulation of seminal fluid encoding genes
- Socio-sexual responses to sperm competition
- Role of gut microbiota in driving host evolution
- Dietary adaptation
- Functions and fitness effects of seminal fluid proteins
- Genetic methods for control of pest insects
Life in our research group
Our research uses a combination of classical and molecular genetics, life history studies and, increasingly, genomics and bioinformatics to study how male-female interactions drive evolutionary change. As well as engaging with the seminars in the School and beyond, we have our own weekly lab meetings and journal club debates to keep up to date. We work with fruitflies because of their astonishing genetic utility and ease of manipulation, but we do venture out of the lab occasionally….