Gee Research Blog

Competitive Generosity Drives Charitable Donations

Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:09:46 +0000

Unconditional generosity is a characteristic of humans on which we pride ourselves, and billions of dollars is donated to hundreds of thousands of charitable organisations every year. But look at it from an evolutionary perspective, and this trait seems difficult to explain. In some situations, giving may have evolved to advertise positive characteristics of the […]

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Annoucing the Winners of the Write About Research Competition

Fri, 10 Apr 2015 13:49:07 +0000

Thanks to everyone who entered our Write About Research competition. We received some great entries from GEE students and postdocs, covering a broad range of topics from conservation to genetics. The entries will be posted here over the coming months, so watch this space! The Winners are… Drum roll please … WINNER: David Curnick – […]

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Male Promiscuity Boosts Role of Chance in Sex Chromosome Evolution

Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:02:31 +0000

Humans, like all mammals and birds, determine sex with chromosomes. Whether a fertilised egg develops into a male or female depends on what chromosomes it carries Scientists have long recognised that genes evolve a little differently on the sex chromosomes, and recent research in GEE suggests this may be due to differing patterns of inheritance […]

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Sloths Move Slow, Evolve Fast

Wed, 11 Mar 2015 18:20:41 +0000

Sloths might be notorious for their leisurely pace of life, but research published last year shows they are no slow coaches when it comes to evolution. Sloths, as we know and love them, are small, slow-moving creatures found in the trees of tropical rainforests. But modern sloths are pretty odd compared to their extinct relatives. […]

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Write About Research – A GEE Research Blog Competition

Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:28:43 +0000

The GEE Research blog communicates UCL science with a wider, non-specialist audience, by providing short summaries of recent research in the department of UCL Genetics, Evolution and Environment. This provides an opportunity to engage with a broad audience, including other academics, students, members of the public, and even businesses and policy-makers. It is a great […]

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Jones - Serpent's Promise

Steve Jones, Professor of Genetics, in his most recent book, the Serpent's Promise, the Bible Retold as Science, has tried to update some of the biblical stories through the eyes of modern science.

He is the author of books on genetics for specialist and lay audiences.  His books include:

Jones - Darwin's Island

'Darwin's Island: the Galapagos in the Garden of England' which completed the ambitious and perhaps misled scheme to update the whole of Darwin's scientific writings for the bicentennial of the great man's birth in 2009; 'Coral: a Pessimist in Paradise', which traces the decline and fall of the reefs and the unexpected science that emerges from the simple animals that make them; 'The Single Helix', 'Y: The Descent of Men';  'Almost Like a Whale', 'In the Blood' and 'The Language of Genes'.

Jones - Coral Jones - Descent Jones - in the blood Jones - language of the genes

Steve Jones teaches on our first year undergraduate course 'Genes to Organisms', about genetics and evolution and in our second year 'Introduction to Human Genetics' course.


Lane - Life Ascending

Nick Lane is a biochemist and writer. He holds the first Provost's Venture Research Fellowship in the Department of Genetics, Evolution and Environment at University College London, and is a founding member of the UCL Consortium for Mitochondrial Research. His research is on the role of bioenergetics in the origin and evolution of complex life. 

He is the author of four popular science books and numerous scientific publications.  His most recent book 'Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution' (Profile/Norton 2009) is a celebration of the inventiveness of life, and of our own ability to read the deep past to reconstruct the history of life on earth. The great inventions are: the origin of life, DNA, photosynthesis, the complex cell, sex, movement, sight, hot blood, consciousness and death.

Lane - Power Sex Suicide Lane - Oxygen Lane - Life Frozen State


Chatterjee - Heritage in Health
Chatterjee - Touch in Museums

Helen Chatterjee is Senior Lecturer in Biology at UCL and Head of Research and Teaching in UCL’s Department of Public and Cultural Engagement. As well as research interests in primate evolution, conservation and biogeography, Helen’s research includes work on touch and value of object handling in health and wellbeing, and its pedagogical value in education. She edited 'Touch in Museums: Policy and Practice in Object Handling' by Berg Publications in 2008 and wrote ‘Museums, Health and Well-being’ by Ashgate Press in 2013. She is currently Principal Investigator on the Arts and Humanities Research Council funded grant ‘Museums on Prescription’ which is exploring the role of museums and galleries in social prescribing.



Richard Pearson is a lecturer within the department’s Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research. He is the author of the popular science book Driven to Extinction (Sterling New York, and NHM London, 2011), which describes how climate change poses a threat to biodiversity and what could be done to combat the threat. He is also co-author of the monograph Ecological Niches and Geographic Distributions (Monographs in Population Biology, Princeton University Press, 2011), which provides an overview of the theory and practice of ecological niche modelling.

Pearson - driven to extinction Pearson - nice & distribution


CollenBiodiversity Monitoring & Conservation

Ben Collen is a lecturer within the department’s Centre for Biodiversity & Environment Research.  His research explores the dynamics by which biodiversity is changing, and how best to understand and counteract those changes.  He is lead author of the book Biodiversity Monitoring & Conservation, part of the Conservation Science and Practice series from Wiley-Blackwell.


Evolutionary Genetics

Andrew Pomiankowski, Professor of Genetics and Director of CoMPLEX, succeeded Prof Steve Jones as Head of Department, GEE, in June 2010.

His research addresses evolutionary questions primarily in the area of sexual selection. One of the key questions he has been working on is the evolution of female mate preferences for exaggerated male sexual traits used in courtship display. In addition, his recent theoretical work has investigated sex determination and the evolution of gene networks, genomic imprinting of sex chromosomes, and the consequences of intra-genomic conflicts.

He co-authored with Mark Pagel, the popular text 'Evolutionary Genomics and Proteomics' which is the first major review of developments in the rapidly growing areas of genomics and proteomics, with particular emphasis on placing these fields in an evolutionary context. With a growing understanding of genes, their diversity and regulation, and how their products work together in networks of interacting elements, a new era of biology is emerging.


Goswami - Carnivoran Evolution

Anjali Goswami is currently a joint Reader in palaeobiology in the Department of Genetics, Evolution, and Environment and the Department of Earth Sciences. She is also affiliated with the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology and currently serves as the Environmental Biology stream representative for the Natural Sciences program.  Outside of UCL, she serves as  co-chair of the Scientific Program Committee and is a member of the media response team for the Society of Vertebrate Palaeontology.   Her main research interests are in mammalian evolution and development, especially using morphometric methods to incorporate data from embryos to fossils to test genetic and developmental hypotheses of modularity and morphological diversity. 'Carnivoran Evolution: New Views on Phylogeny, Form, and Function' (A. Goswami and A. Friscia, eds.), was published by Cambridge University Press as the first volume in their new series 'Cambridge Studies in Morphology and Molecules: New Paradigms in Evolutionary Biology'.

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