Dr Chris Tyler-Smith

Chris investigates the genetic variation in human populations and the insights this provides into human evolution.

Chris is head of the Human Evolution team. His background is in human molecular and evolutionary genetics, and from 1987 to 2003, his research in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford, concentrated on understanding the structure and function of human centromeres, responsible for proper segregation of the chromosomes when the cell divides.

This work used the Y chromosome centromere as its model, and during this period Chris also developed an interest in the use of variation on the Y chromosome to provide insights into aspects of human history and evolution.

In 2003, Chris moved to The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, and was able to concentrate fully on human evolution. While his interest in the use of neutral markers such as the Y chromosome and mitochondrial DNA continues, particularly as part of the Genographic Project, the main thrust of his work is now directed towards investigating the way natural selection has shaped modern humans. In order to do this, Chris's team need first to understand the extent of genetic variation, including structural variation in human populations. This is done as part of the Genome Structural Variation consortium and the 1000 Genomes Project. Chris's team are then particularly interested in identifying regions of the genome that have experienced recent positive selection in humans.

Selected Publications

[Wellcome Library, London]

Chris' Project
Human Evolution
Research Area
Human Genetics
* quick link - http://q.sanger.ac.uk/ehiimmq8