Biological Sciences


Professor Brian Charlesworth

Location: Ashworth 2 115

Telephone: +44 (0) 131 650 5751


Website: No details available

Group members: No details available


1966BA in Natural Sciences (1st Class Honours), University of Cambridge
1969PhD in Genetics, University of Cambridge
1969 - 1971Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Chicago
1971 - 1974Lecturer in Genetics, University of Liverpool
1974 - 1982Lecturer in Biology, University of Sussex
1982 - 1984Reader in Biology, University of Sussex
1985 - 1992Professor of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago
1992 - 1997G.W. Beadle Distinguished Service Professor of Ecology and Evolution, University of Chicago
1997 - 2007Royal Society Research Professor, Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh
2007 - 2010Professor and Head of Institute of Evolutionary Biology, University of Edinburgh
1991Fellow of the Royal Society
1996Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
1999President, Society for the Study of Evolution
2000Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh; Darwin Medal of the Royal Society
2006President, Genetics Society (UK), until 2009
2006Sewall Wright Award, American Society of Naturalists
2007Frink Award, Zoological Society of London

Research groupings

Molecular Evolution and Genomics


Genomes and Genomics (3rd year): 3 lectures Evolutionary Biology Honours Elective: The Evolution of Sex and Breeding Systems (4 lectures and 2 discussions) Genetics Honours Elective: Topics in Evolutionary Genomics (4 lectures and 2 discussions) MSc in Quantitative Genetics and Genome Analysis: 13 lectures, 1 tutorial and 3 discussions)

Research interests

My general area of research is in evolutionary genetics, which is concerned with the application of classical and molecular genetics to the study of evolution and natural variation. My group carries out both theoretical and experimental research, using theoretical ideas to motivate the experiments, and experimental data as stimulant for the development of theory. My recent research has focussed on three main areas: molecular evolution and variation, the evolution of genetic and sexual systems, and the quantitative genetics of life-history traits. Each of these areas illuminates the others. I am currently especially interested in the nature of the evolutionary process in genomes or genomic regions with low rates of genetic recombination, and am using theoretical models and studies of DNA sequence evolution and variation to study this problem. I am also interested in the problem of estimating the extent and intensity of selection on non-synonymous, synonymous and non-coding mutations.

Representative publications

Sanchez-Gracia, A. Maside, X. & Charlesworth, B. (2005). High rate of horizontal transfer of transposable elements in Drosophila. Trends in Genetics 21: 200-203.

Haddrill, P.R., Charlesworth, B., Halligan, D.L. & Andolfatto, P. (2005). Patterns of intron sequence evolution in Drosophila are dependent upon length and GC content. Genome Biology 6:R67.

Loewe, L., Charlesworth, B., Bartolom & V. Nol, V. (2006). Estimating selection on nonsynonymous mutations. Genetics 172: 1079-1092.

Dolgin, E.S. & Charlesworth, B. (2006). The fate of transposable elements in asexual populations. Genetics 174: 817-827.

Cutter, A.D. & Charlesworth, B. (2006). Selection intensity on preferred codons correlates with overall codon usage bias in Caenorhaditis remanei. Curr. Biol. 16: 2053-2057.

Bartolome, C. & Charlesworth, B. (2006). Evolution of amino-acid sequences and codon usage on the Drosophila miranda neo-sex chromosomes. Genetics 174: 2033-2044.

Loewe, L. & Charlesworth, B. (2007). Background selection in single genes may explain patterns of codon bias. Genetics 175: 1381-1393.

Haddrill, P.R., Halligan, D.L., Tomaras, D. & Charlesworth, B. (2007). Reduced efficacy of selection in regions of the Drosophila genome that lack crossing over. Genome Biology 8: R18

Charlesworth, B., Miyo, T. & Borthwick, H. (2007). Selection responses of means and inbreeding depression for female fecundity in Drosophila melanogaster suggest contributions from intermediate-frequency alleles to quantitative trait variation. Genet. Res. 89: 85-91.

Berlin, S., Tomaras, D. & Charlesworth, B. (2007). Low mitochondrial variability in birds may indicate Hill-Robertson effects on the W chromosome. Heredity 99: 389-396.

Elements of Evolutionary Genetics


ISBN: 978-0981519425