Research Fellows Directory
Professor Roger Butlin
University of Sheffield
My research is concerned primarily with the origin and genetic basis of barriers to gene exchange. I have studied the controversial process of reinforcement, the inheritance of signal characters and the form of female preferences, and the genetics of hybrid sterility. Molecular methods have been used to provide markers and phylogenetic information and are now being used to study gene expression and identify loci under selection. I am currently concentrating my research efforts on local adaptation and speciation in winkles (Littorina) and aphids (Acyrthosiphon). My aim is to characterise loci under divergent selection and to understand the processes that lead from a simple balance between gene flow and selection towards increasing reproductive isolation. My ambition over the next five years is to combine the power of the latest generation of sequencing technologies to detect patterns of differentiation, with the potential of computationally-intensive methods (such as Approximate Bayesian Computation) to distinguish among historical processes that underlie these patterns and experimental approaches grounded in strong biological understanding to determine the sources of selection driving differentiation. The Littorina and Acyrthosiphon systems both have great potential for combining approaches in this way and in both cases I have the privilege to work with exceptional collaborators.
Interests and expertise (Subject groups)