MRC Human Genetics Unit
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit

Ian Adams Research Group

Genetic and Chromosomal Stability in Mammalian Germ Cells

Ian Adams portrait
Dr Ian Adams - Programme Leader

Research in a Nutshell

Our research is trying to find out how the body makes sure that parents pass the right number of chromosomes on to their children. Mistakes in this process are very common in humans and cause miscarriage, infertility, and Down's Syndrome. 

We know that most of the mistakes that cause embryos to inherit the wrong number of chromosomes happen when eggs are being made in the mother, and that these mistakes are very common in older mothers. However the behaviour of the chromosomes in developing eggs is difficult to study in humans because these cells are rare and only found in the ovary deep inside the body.

Mice are much better at passing the right number of chromosomes on to their children than humans, and we have found a new gene that helps mice do this. Female mice that have mutations in this gene make eggs carrying the wrong number of chromosomes. The mistakes happening in these mutant mouse eggs mimic some of the mistakes that happen in human eggs. We hope that by finding the genes that help mouse eggs and sperm carry the right number of chromosomes, we might be able to help humans eggs do the same.

Ian Adams Research Group 2023


Professor Ian Adams Group Leader
Dr James Crichton Research Fellow

Dr Cova Vara

Research Fellow

Dr Karen Thomas (nee Dobie)

Research assistant

Jennifer Lawson Research Assistant 

Veronica Duffy

PhD Student

Matilda Bui

PhD Student

Alex Pegg

PhD Student


Partners and Funders

  • Medical Research Council

Scientific Themes

spermatogenesis, oogenesis, meiosis, aneuploidy, retrotransposons.

Technology Expertise

embryonic stem cells, transgenic mouse models, analysis of chromosome behaviour.