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Professor Chris Jiggins

Professor Chris Jiggins

Professor of Evolutionary Biology [2014]

Director of Studies in Natural Sciences (Biological) at St John's College

Chris Jiggins is accepting applications for PhD students.

Room F105/F106
Office Phone: 01223 (7)69021


I graduated in Natural Sciences (Zoology) here in Cambridge and then studied for my PhD in UCL with Jim Mallet. I then had a year working on a conservation project in Ecuador, before coming back to UCL for a postdoc. However, after a brief stint in Colombia, I mainly worked in Panama at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute during this time, where I was then awarded a Tupper 3 year fellowship. After various unsuccessful applications for positions in the US and the UK, I was awarded a Royal Society University Research Fellowship at the University of Edinburgh, where I stayed for around 4 years before moving to a lectureship in Cambridge in 2006. I was promoted to Reader in 2010.

Research Interests

I study adaption and speciation in the Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths).  In particular I am interested in studying how species converge due to mimicry, as a model for understanding the predictability of evolution, and the genetic and ecological causes of speciation.  We approach this problem from a variety of perspectives ranging from the developmental biology of wing pattern specification, through genomic studies of adaptation and divergence, through to behavioural and ecological studies in the field. We have also led the development of genomics in the Lepidoptera and recently published the full genome sequence of Heliconius melpomene. In the past my group has also studied the genetic basis of insecticide resistance in the agricultural pest, diamondback moth. Find out more about our research here

If you are interested in more information regarding Heliconius butterflies, please see Along with my brother, Frank Jiggins, I established the Cambridge Evolutionary Genetics network to bring together like-minded researchers from across departments in Cambridge, which runs an annual seminar day and occasional journal clubs.

Key Publications

Kozak KM, Wahlberg N, Neild AFE, Dasmahapatra KK, Mallet J, Jiggins CD. 2015. Multilocus Species Trees Show the Recent Adaptive Radiation of the Mimetic Heliconius Butterflies. Systematic Biology 64: 505–524.
Merrill RM, Dasmahapatra KK, Davey JW, Dell’Aglio DD, Hanly JJ, Huber B, Jiggins CD, Joron M, Kozak KM, Llaurens V, et al. 2015. The diversification of Heliconius butterflies: what have we learned in 150 years? Journal of Evolutionary Biology 28: 1417–1438.
Nadeau NJ, Ruiz M, Salazar P, Counterman B, Medina JA, Ortiz-Zuazaga H, Morrison A, McMillan WO, Jiggins CD, Papa R. 2014. Population genomics of parallel hybrid zones in the mimetic butterflies, H. melpomene and H. erato. Genome Research 24: 1316–1333.
Martin SHDasmahapatra KKNadeau NJSalazar CWalters JRSimpson FBlaxter MManica AMallet JJiggins CD2013. Genome-wide evidence for speciation with gene flow in Heliconius butterflies. Genome Research 23: 1817–1828.
Nadeau NJ, Whibley A, Jones RT, Davey JW, Dasmahapatra KK, Baxter SW, Quail MA, Joron M, ffrench-Constant R, Blaxter ML, et al. 2012. Genomic islands of divergence in hybridizing Heliconius butterflies identified by large-scale targeted sequencing. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 367: 343–353.
The Heliconius Genome Consortium, Jiggins CD. 2012. Butterfly genome reveals promiscuous exchange of mimicry adaptations among species. Nature 487: 94–98.
Joron MFrezal LJones RTChamberlain NLLee SFHaag CRWhibley ABecuwe MBaxter SWFerguson Let al. 2011. Chromosomal rearrangements maintain a polymorphic supergene controlling butterfly mimicry. Nature 477: 203–206.

Other Publications

See my group webpage for a full list of publications

Alternatively visit my Google Scholar page