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Biodiversity, chromosomal and genome evolution in agricultural species and models

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  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round

Project Description

The self-funded projects within our lab lead to understanding of how crops and farmed animals have arisen and diverged. We study biology and evolution of genomes by molecular cytogenetics and DNA analysis, investigating diverse groups of plants and animals. We focus on large-scale processes of genome evolution and control at levels of 1) DNA sequences, 2) genomes in polyploids and 3) chromosomes. Microscopy, in situ hybridization, molecular (epi)genetics and systems biology let us explore, understand and use biodiversity in crops, farm animals, relatives and model species. Much work focusses on repetitive DNA sequence evolution and consequences - including tandem repeats and retroelements. In crops, we are particuarly interested in interactions between genomes in hybrids and the transfer of characters by wide hybridization and introgression of chromosomes and chromosome segments.
Further details of current projects in the lab are under

We are an equal opportunities employer and particularly welcome applications for Ph.D. places from women, minority ethnic and other under-represented groups.

Funding Notes

We have a very international lab, and students obtain funding from their home institutions, national governments, international agencies or other sources. We are happy to work with students to develop project applications where appropriate.
Always see our lab website and contact me to discuss projects and funding by e-mail ([Email Address Removed]) before making a formal application


Heslop-Harrison JS, Schwarzacher T. 2013. Nucleosomes and centromeric DNA packaging. Proc Nat Acad Sci USA.
Bertioli DJ, Vidigal B, Nielen S, Ratnaparkhe MB, Lee T-JH, Leal-Bertioli SCM, Kim C, Guimaraes PM, Seijo G, Schwarzacher T, Paterson AH, Heslop-Harrison P, Araujo ACG. 2013. The repetitive component of the A genome of peanut (Arachis hypogaea) and its role in remodelling intergenic sequence space since its evolutionary divergence from the B genome. Annals of Botany 2013;
D’Hont A, ... Heslop-Harrison P, et al.. 2012. The banana (Musa acuminata) genome and the evolution of monocotyledonous plants. Nature, 488 (7410), 213-217.
Heslop-Harrison JS. 2012. Genome evolution: extinction, continuation or explosion? Current Opinion in Plant Biology 15:115–121. Subscription:
Heslop-Harrison JS, Schwarzacher T. 2011. Organization of the plant genome in chromosomes. Plant J. 66: 18-33.
Kuhn GCS, Küttler H, Moreira-Filho O, Heslop-Harrison JS. 2011. The 1.688 Repetitive DNA of Drosophila: Concerted evolution at different genomic scales and association with genes. Molecular Biology and Evolution 29(1): 7-11

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