Biological Sciences


Professor Deborah Charlesworth

Location: Ashworth 2 115

Telephone: +44 (0) 131 650 5751


Website: No details available

Group members: No details available


1968PhD (Genetics) Cambridge University
1968 - 69MRC Junior Research Fellow, Cambridge University
1969-71Postdoctoral fellow, University of Chicago
1971-74Honorary Research Fellow, Liverpool University
1974-84Temporary Lecturer, University of Sussex
1977-78Visiting Scientist, NIEHS (NIH) North Carolina
1984-88Research Associate, University of Chicago
1988-92Assistant Professor, University of Chicago
1992-1997Professor, University of Chicago
1997-2002NERC Senior Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh
1997-presentProfessorial Research Fellow, University of Edinburgh
2005Fellow of the Royal Society

Research groupings

Population genetics


Molecular Evolution and Diversity, Evolutionary Genomics, Evolution of Sex and Mating Systems.

Research interests

Evolutionary and population genetics, particularly topics in the general area of the evolution of breeding systems. Linkage disequilibrium in the genome region containing the self-incompatibility alleles of the plant Arabidopsis lyrata, and estimation of this regions rate of genetic recombination (to test whether it is unusually low, since it contains the two incompatibility loci, one encoding the pollen recognition protein and one the pistil receptor). DNA sequence diversity at other loci in populations of this species, aimed at comparing genomic patterns of evolution with its close relative A. thaliana. Molecular evolution of sex chromosomes, including studies of the evolution of Y-linked genes in the white campion, Silene latifolia.

Representative publications

Charlesworth, D,Wright, SI. (2001) Breeding systems and genome evolution. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 11, 685-690.

Jesper S. Bechsgaard, Vincent Castric, Deborah Charlesworth, Xavier Vekemans, Mikkel H. Schierup. 2006. The transition to self-compatibility in Arabidopsis thaliana and evolution within S-haplotypes over 10 million years. Molecular Biology and Evolution 23: 1741-1750.

Asher D. Cutter, Scott E. Baird and Deborah Charlesworth. 2006 Patterns of nucleotide polymorphism and the decay of linkage disequilibrium in wild populations of Caenorhabditis remanei. Genetics 174: 901-913.

Bergero, R., A. Forrest, E. Kamau, and D. Charlesworth. 2007. Evolutionary strata on the X chromosomes of the dioecious plant Silene latifolia: evidence from new sex-linked genes. Genetics 175:1945-1954.

D. Charlesworth 2006 Balancing selection and its effects on sequences in nearby genome regions. PLoS Genetics 2: e64 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0020064.

S. Qiu, R. Bergero, A. Forrest, V. Kaiser, D. Charlesworth 2010 Nucleotide diversity in Silene latifolia autosomal and sex-linked genes. Proceedings of the Royal Soc. 277: 3283-3290 (doi:10.1098/rspb.2010.0606).

Bergero, R., and D. Charlesworth, 2011 Preservation of the Y transcriptome in a 10MY old plant sex chromosome system. Current Biology 21: 1470-1474.

Jordan, C., and D. Charlesworth, 2012 The potential for sexually antagonistic polymorphism in different genome regions. Evolution 66: 505–516. DOI: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2011.01448.x