MRC Human Genetics Unit
Medical Research Council Human Genetics Unit

Martin Taylor Research Group

Mutagenesis and its Biomedical Impact

Section: Biomedical Genomics

Professor Martin Taylor

Research in a Nutshell 

Genetic mutations provide the raw material for evolution, they are responsible for heritable disease and driving the development of cancer. We are interested in understanding how new DNA sequence changes arise and the consequences of those changes for human health. Many of our insights come from investigating the record of past evolution, using "the light of evolution" to explore the human genome. Our main aims are centred around three interlinked themes:

  1. Understanding mutational processes: Why DNA changes occur where they do, the patterns created and identifying hotspots for mutation.
  2. Interpretation of genetic variation: Which DNA changes contribute to meaningful differences between individuals such as disease state or disease risk, and which are of little consequence?
  3. The evolution of gene regulation: Understanding how gene regulation evolves and the effect of DNA sequence changes in controlling when genes are switched on.


Research Programme

M.Taylor group 2017


Professor Martin Taylor Group Leader
Dr Craig Anderson Research Fellow
Susan Campbell Research Assistant
Dr John Connelly Clinical lecturer & PhD student
Kathryn Jackson-Jones PhD student
Juliet Luft PhD student
Lucy Scott PhD student
Dr Lana Talmane Research Fellow
Dr Thomas Williams Clinical lecturer & PhD student



  • Professor Wendy Bickmore, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Andrew Jackson, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Javier Caceres, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Colin Semple, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Malcolm Dunlop, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor Ricahard Meehan, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Caroline Hayward, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Ian Adams, University of Edinbrugh
  • Dr Joe Marsh, University of Edinburgh
  • Dr Rod Mitchel, University of Edinburgh
  • Professor David Fitzpatrick, University of Edinburgh
  • FANTOM Consortium
  • Professor Ian Holt, Crick Institute, London

Partners and Funders

  • MRC
  • FANTOM Consortium
  • Scottish Genomes Partnership

Scientific Themes

Understanding mutational processes, Interpretation of genetic variation, The evolution of gene regulation

Technology Expertise

Computational genomics, high performance computing, detection of mutations, molecular phylogenetics, gene expression analysis, measurement of genetic selection, high throughput sequencing technologies and assays.