Of mice and men

Super treat in the lab this week.  The journal Science decided to feature one of our publications in its “Editor’s Choice” section.  The author of the little piece is Laura Zahn and she chose to feature the work, which was published in Molecular Biology and Evolution.   It is always a real thrill to have work…


Genomics of the longest lived mammal

This week the genome and transcriptome of the Bowhead whale was published in the journal Cell reports. For more please see our publications page for the pdf or click here This work was carried out by Dr Andrew Webb (first author) and Dr Mary O’Connell in collaboration with an international team of experts and was led by…

Hummingbird feeding

A matter of Taste

“Evolution of sweet taste perception in hummingbirds by transformation of the ancestral umami receptor” Baldwin et al Science 2014   Why study birds to understand sensory perception? Birds are a group of therapod dinosaurs that evolved during the mid Mesozoic era (~150 million years ago). They represent one of the most diverse extant vertebrate clades…

Irish times article on fundamental science

Irish Times Nov 5th 2014

Our research was featured in the Irish times today (5th November 2014). I think it is wonderful to bring fundamental research to the general audience. The business of understanding life and how it works underpins all of our therapies and treatments for the future … this is where it all begins … http://www.irishtimes.com/news/science/great-scientific-mysteries-the-researchers-puzzle-it-out-1.1964445

Two of the Rings of Life.

A consilient view on Eukaryotic Origins

Today we published a manuscript that summarises the current knowledge of the evolutionary history of the cellular life forms on the planet. This is not an easy task and involved evaluating a lot of manuscripts to see what they had to say on the matter. Fortunately, there are many different kinds of data that can be…


Simultaneous miRNA and mRNA transcriptome profiling…

Abstract Background: miRNA profiling performed in myogenic cells and biopsies from skeletal muscles has previously identified miRNAs involved in myogenesis. Results: Here, we have performed miRNA transcriptome profiling in human affinity-purified CD56+ myoblasts induced to differentiate in vitro. In total, we have identified 60 miRNAs differentially expressed during myogenic differentiation. Many were not known for being differentially…


A phylogenetic approach to test for evidence of parental conflict or gene duplications associated with protein-encoding imprinted orthologous genes in placental mammals

There are multiple theories on the evolution of genomic imprinting. We investigated whether the molecular evolution of true orthologs of known imprinted genes provides support for theories based on gene duplication or parental conflicts (where mediated by amino-acid changes). Our analysis of 34 orthologous genes demonstrates that the vast majority of mammalian imprinted genes have…

We are always looking for collaborators and new people to come and work with us. Please get in contact if you are interested in what we do: m.oconnell@leeds.ac.uk