Blaxter Group

Evolutionary Genomics

Life has evolved solutions to all the problems that the earth ecosystem poses, and these solutions are encoded in genomes. We are interested in the processes of evolution of genomic novelty and how opportunity and costraint play roles in the origins of the diversity we observe today.

We work within the Tree of Life Programme to generate high-quality genome assemblies for a wide array of species, from across the diversity of life. While our main interets are in the evolution of animals, we also work on plants, fungi and protists, and on the bacterial cobionts that live on and in these species.

Using these high quality genomes we explore

  • the evolutionary history of genes and species, building phylogenetic trees of life
  • the contrasting roles of horizontal gene transfer and introgression in shaping evolution
  • the biology of symbioses, especially symbioses between eukaryotes and bacteria, and between parasites and their hosts
  • the processes that drive the evolution of pattern in the structure of chromosomes
  • the diversity of meiofauna, particularly tardigrades, nematodes and other Ecdysozoa
  • the genomics of extremophilia

To deliver these analyses we develop new software tools for genome assembly, validation and analysis.

Core team

Photo of Dr Kerstin Howe

Dr Kerstin Howe

Senior Scientific Manager

Photo of Dr Nick Salmon

Dr Nick Salmon

Head of Strategic Delivery & Operations


We work with the following groups



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