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Welcome to Angus Davison's lab website.

I am an Associate Professor and Reader in Evolutionary Genetics in the School of Life Sciences at the University of Nottingham. I run a research lab, teach undergraduates and supervise postgraduates. I am also the Careers Officer for the Biology group of degrees. This is my lab home page, otherwise see my University home pageLinkedIn page or @angus_davison.

In my lab, we use snails as a comparative model to understand evolutionary and developmental genetics. In one project, we are using snails to understand the left-right symmetry breaking event that takes place during early development, using both lab and field-based studies: just how is chirality determined at the molecular level? In another project, we are investigating the evolutionary origins of supergenes, using the charismatic snail Cepaea. Finally, as snails are one of the most speciose groups, we are using new technologies to understand how this biodiversity has come about, by investigating a model adaptive radiation of snails in subtropical Japan (Ogasawara). All of these projects are technology led: new DNA sequencing techniques are enabling us to do what was not possible only a few years ago.

"Nature is often complicated" is the opening line from Bryan Clarke's 1979 paper "The evolution of genetic diversity" (Proc. R. Soc. Lond. B 205, 453-474).


New lab member

We are delighted to hear that Dr Tamsin Majerus has been awarded a Daphne Jackson Trust fellowship to work in the lab. Specifically, Tamsin will use a RAD-sequencing approach to examine the genetics of colour pattern polymorphism in two congeneric species of ladybird, identifying whether the same genetic regions and changes are involved in both species.

Unwinding snail chirality

The left-right asymmetry of snails, including the direction of shell coiling, is determined by the delayed effect of a maternal gene on the chiral twist that takes place during early embryonic cell divisions. Yet, despite being a well-established classical problem, the identity of the gene and the means by which left-right asymmetry is established in snails remain unknown. In a recently published paper, we demonstrated the power of new approaches, especially RAD-Seq and fibre-FISH, for later identification of the chirality gene. Read the full text here.

Material Whorld

The just published PLOS ONE paper has received considerable coverage in the media, including Nature, the BBC, ScienceNow and The Times, amongst others. One article was even thoughtful enough to recount my recipe for cooking Cepaea - Nidhi Subbaraman's article for NBCUniversal. The highlight of all this media attention was an appearance on the venerable BBC Radio 4 science programme, Material World - it was a slightly poignant visit to Bush House in London, because I got to witness Quentin Cooper's final ever show (podcast available, June 20th).

Read more: Material Whorld

JSPS Photo competition - I won!

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science, JSPS London held a photo competition. One of the photos that I took while on a trip to Japan was shortlisted. On attending an awards ceremony at the Japanese Embassy on 14th November, I found out that a photo of chiral snails was a winner in the research category.

Read more: JSPS Photo competition - I won!