Dr. Craig J Anderson

Postdoctoral Fellow


I'm interested in evolutionary biology, principally adaptation and the generation of genetic variation.

Focusing on genetic heterogeneity in cancer, I use the phenomena of lesion segregation and multiallelism to gain insight into DNA damage and repair during the early stages of tumourigenesis.

My PhD from Cardiff University was in the field of ecotoxicology, whereby I focused on a systems biology overview of the effects of arsenic exposure on invertebrate populations. Specialisation in population genetics allowed me to focus on adaptation and gene flow in an agricultural pest species while at CSIRO in Canberra, under a prestigious OCE fellowship.  

During these roles, I cultivated an interest in the variability of mutation rate across the genome and as such am using cancer as a model to define novel insights into mutational heterogeneity and its role in adaptation. 


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First (Hons) BSc Biological Sciences, Plymouth University, UK

PhD, Cardiff University and Centre of Ecology and Hydrology Wallingford, UK. Title: Mechanistic Bases of Metal Tolerance: Linking Phenotype to Genotype

Responsibilities & affiliations

Committee member of the Genetics Society (2022-2023)

Member of the Genetics Society (UK), SMBE (US) and EACR (EU).

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Research summary

I come from a deeply varied evolutionary biology background and most recently played a key role in a body of work titled “Pervasive lesion segregation shapes cancer genome evolution”. My co-authors and I discovered that DNA damage from mutagenic processes, such as UV irradiation and tobacco smoke, is heritable.

I designed and performed bioinformatic analyses able to demonstrate that repeated replication over unrepaired DNA adducts leads not only to allelic diversity, but also combinations of alleles. These patterns are consistent across a murine phylogeny and encouragingly, exploration of the molecular mechanisms underlying this previously unfounded source of cancer heterogeneity is providing a glut of fundamental insights into somatic evolutionary processes.

My current work within the MRC HGU is to understand the sources and effects of genetic diversity as I begin to unravel the effects of DNA damage retention in various contexts, including during development and tumouregensis. My work within Martin Taylor's lab and with our collaborators is already beginning to foster wide-reaching and impactful results on the role of exogenous exposure to mutagens.

Past research interests

For a complete list of my publications, check https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2832-9313

View all 15 publications on Research Explorer