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Richard Nichols

Professor Richard Nichols
Professor of Evolutionary Genetics

Location: Room 5.19, Fogg building
Phone: +44 (0)20 7882 3362

Using genetic evidence to understand the biology and history of living organisms.

My work combines the collection of genetic data with the development of new analytical methods.

A recent example is a collaboration with SMD virologist Judy Breuer on the DNA sequences of chicken pox virus, which has led us to reevaluate the orthodoxy about its mode of spread, and has led to a two new projects on the way the virus spreads in the human body.

I am also developing similar methods to study the movement of DNA sequences around the genome. We have detected spectacular movement of ribosomal DNA within a grasshopper genome, with populations separated by a few hundred metres having no ribosomal loci in common. These populations are part of the same species, but the offspring must be severely affected where the populations cross. Studying the processes leading to this unexpected and dramatic rearrangement of the genome may explain the origins of incompatibilities between isolated populations.

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