Home | J.W. Jenkinson Laboratory for Evolution and Development


The animal kingdom is remarkably diverse. There are more than a million species of animal on the planet, encompassing an astonishingly variety of size, shape, anatomy, physiology, behaviour and life cycles. This diversity has arisen through hundreds of millions of years of evolution, and must have its roots in changes to DNA sequence.  In our research group we try to relate the evolution of animal diversity to the evolution of the genome. We use genome sequencing, transcriptomics, cell culture, ectopic gene expression and bioinformatics to compare genes and gene functions between species. We have a particular interest in homeobox genes, which code for important regulatory proteins, and in the role of gene duplication, genome duplication and gene conversion. Currently, we are studying genome evolution in mammals and insects, revealing how new genes contribute to new functions and how meiotic recombination contributes to sequence change.

Research fellowships: I always welcome enquiries at any time from potential research fellows who wish to write their own fellowship application to join the research group. 

PhD opportunities: If you are interested in doing a PhD in the research group, please first send an email (peter.holland@zoo.ox.ac.uk). The University of Oxford has a large number of fully-funded scholarship opportunities for 3-year 'Direct' or 4-year 'DTP' PhD programmes (see http://www.zoo.ox.ac.uk/graduates/applying), or you may have access to scholarships from other sources. Possible projects include focus on the relation between genome evolution and animal evolution, especially in mammals, insects and marine invertebrates; see these webpages for details. Projects can be lab-based or computer-based (or both). We can also suggest mathematical/statistical projects in collaboration with others e.g. https://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/research/genome/projects/currentprojects. For most lab- or computer-based projects, however, the most appropriate route of entry is likely to be the 4-year DTP in Interdisciplinary Bioscience (http://www.biodtp.ox.ac.uk/) because this entry route offers many scholarships.