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Butterfly Genetics Group

Courtship ismenius

What are the origins of biodiversity?  We study insects, and mainly tropical butterflies from South America, to understand evolution at the population and species level. We like genetics, and are doing a lot of genome analysis at the moment, but also think that we need to understand development, behaviour and ecology to make sense of evolution. So our research ranges across all of these topics.

Current research topics include:

  • Speciation genomics and patterns of divergence 

  • The role of pheromones in mate choice and speciation

  • The evolution and development of butterfly wing patterns

Key Publications

Wallbank, R. W. R. et al. Evolutionary novelty in a butterfly wing pattern through enhancer shuffling. PLoS Biol 14, e1002353 (2016).

Nadeau, N. J. et al. The gene cortex controls mimicry and crypsis in butterflies and moths. Nature 534, 106–110 (2016).

Davey, J. W. et al. No evidence for maintenance of a sympatric Heliconius species barrier by chromosomal inversions. Evolution Letters 1–3, 138–154 (2017)

Martin, S. H. et al. Genome-wide evidence for speciation with gene flow in Heliconius butterflies. Genome Res. 23, 1817–1828 (2013).

Full list of publications


Contact Details

Group Leader

Professor Chris Jiggins

Department of Zoology
University of Cambridge
Downing St

01223  (7)69021

Group Members