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.
Investigates the diversity of complex organisms found in the UK through sequencing and cellular technologies. It also compares and contrasts species' genome sequences to unlock insights into evolution and conservation.
The Genome Reference Informatics Team analyses genome assemblies to reveal and correct quality issues and to identify and add variation. It forms the Sanger division of the Genome Reference Consortium and the Vertebrate Genomes Project.
Some mosquitoes are better at transmitting malaria parasites than others. Likewise, some parasites are better at infecting mosquitoes than others. Our research group uses genomics to investigate these phenomena. We have two major research themes we are working on, described in more detail below.