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Department of Zoology



I am a neuroscientist with particular interests in how genomic imprinting has shaped mammalian brain evolution.


Research 2009-2013

Behavioural neuroscience and brain evolution

After a longstanding career in behavioural neuroscience, I have now officially retired.  However, I continued with research until grants terminated, but did not take on PhD students.  My interests are now focussing in the area of mammalian brain evolution and behaviour and the importance of genomic imprinting in this context.  Imprinted genes ar epigenetically modified to provide expression according to parent-of-origin.  Epigenetics has, I believe, played a significant role in brain development and evolution, and the larger the brain the longer it takes to develop post-natally and the more it is subject to environmental infuences that affects its development.  A focus interest is on selection pressures opering through the matriline in the context.


Grants Held

Leverhulme Trust Award, 2001-2001 (Joint with P. Bateson, R. Foley and M. Lahr). Evolution, post geomics and contextual biology.

BBSRC Project Grant, 2007-2010.  Co-adaptive evolution of brain and placenta.


Key publications: 

Broad, K.D., Curley, J.P. & Keverne, E.B. (2009) Increased apoptosis during neonatal brain development underlies the adult behavioral deficits seen in mice lacking a functional paternally expressed gene 3 (Peg-3).  Dev. Neurobiol.  69, 314-325.

Swaney, W.T. & Keverne, E.B. (2009)  The evolution of pheromonal communication.  Behav. Brain Res. 200, 239-247.

Keverne, E.B. (2009).  Monoallelic gene expression and mammalian evolution  BioEssays 31, 1318-1326.

Xia, J., Broad, K.D., Emson, P.C & Keverne, E.B. (2010)  Epigenetic modification of vomeronasal (V2r) precursor neurons by histone decetylation.   Neuroscience 169, 1462-1472.

Keverne, E.B. (2011)  Epigenetics and brain evolution.  Epigenomics 3, 183-191.

Broad, K.D. & Keverne, E.B. (2011) Placental protection of the foetal brain during short term food deprivation.  Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 108, 15237-15241.

Broad, K.D. & Keverne, E.B. (2012)  The post-natal chemosensory environment induces epigenetic changes in vomeronasal receptor gene expression and a bias in olfactory preference.  Behav. Genet. 42, 461-471.

Keverne, E.B. (2012)  Significance of epigenetics for understanding brain development, brain evolution and behaviour.  Neuroscience, doi: 10.1016/j.neuroscience.2012.11.030

Keverne, E.B. (2013)  Importance of matriline for genomic imprinting, brain development and behaviour. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B. 368, doi: 10.1098/rstb.2011.0327

Other publications: 

Curley, J.P., Champagne, F.A. Bateson, P. & Keverne, E.B. (2008)  Transgenerational effects of impaired maternal care on behavior of offspring and grandoffspring.  Animal Behaviour 75, 1551-1561.

Keverne, E.B. & Curley, J. P. (2008)  Epigenetics, brain evolution and behavior.  Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 29, 398-412.

Keverne, E.B. (2008)  Visualisation of the vomeronasal pheromone response system.  BioEssays 30, 802-805.

Broad, K.D. & Keverne, E.B. (2008)  More to pheromones than meets the nost.  Nat. Neurosci. 11, 128-129.

Swaney, W.T., Curley, J.P., Champagne, F.A. & Keverne, E.B. (2008)  The paternally expressed gene Peg3 regulates sexual experience-dependent preferences for estrous odors.  Behav. Neurosci. 122, 963-973.

Keverne, E.B. (2008) Impact of brain evolution on hormones and social behavior.  In: Hormones and Social Behavior, Ed by P. Chanson, C. Kordon, D. Pfaff & Y. Christen, pp 65-79.  Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Carter, C.S. & Keverne, E.B. (2008) Neurobiology of social affiliation and bonding.  In: Hormones, Brain and Behavior, Second Edition, Ed by D. Pfaff.  Elsevier.

Keverne, E.B. (2008) Neurobiology of Wellbeing: a Life-course Perspective. Foresight Mental Capital and Mental Wellbeing. Office of Science and Innovation.

Champagne, F.A., Curley, J.P., Swaney, W.T., Hasen, N.S. & Keverne, E. B. (2009).  Paternal influence on female behavior: The role of Peg3 in exploration, olfaction and neuroendocrine regulation of maternal behavior of female mice.  Behav. Neurosci. 123, 469-480.

Curley, J.P. & Keverne, E.B (2009) Epigenetics and Psychology.   In: The Encyclopedia of Positive Psychology, Ed by S.J. Lopez.  Blackwell Publishing.

Broad, K.D. & Keverne, E.B. (2009) Increased apoptosis during neonatal brain development underlies the adult behavioral deficits seen in mice lacking a functional paternally expressed gene 3 (Peg3)  Dev. Neurobiol. 69, 314-325. 

Curley, J.P., Rock, V., Moynihan, A., Bateson, P. Keverne, E.B. & Champagne, F. (2010)  Developmental shifts in the behavioural phenotypes of inbred mice: the role of postnatal and juvenile social experiences.  Behav. Genet. 40, 220-232.

Keverne, E.B. (2010)  A mine of imprinted genes.  Nature 466, 823-824.

Keverne, E.B. (2013) Importance of genomic imprinting in the evolution and development of the maternal brain.  In: Multiple Origins of Sex Differences in Brain, Ed by D.W. Pfaff & Y Christen, pp 21-34.  Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Keverne, E.B. (2013) Epigenetics and maternal brain evolution.  In: Environmental Epigenomics in Health and Disease, Ed by R.L. Jirtle & F.L. Tyson, pp 3-20.  Springer-Verlag, Berlin.


Emeritus Professor

Contact Details

Sub-Department of Animal Behaviour, Madingley
01223 (7)47309