19 July 2023 – Committee Vacancies

We are currently recruiting new Committee Members for:

  • Scientific Meetings Secretary (Executive Committee)
  • Applied and Quantitative Genetics (Ordinary Committee)
  • Cell and Developmental Genetics (Ordinary Committee)
  • Gene Structure, Function and Regulation (Ordinary Committee)
  • Corporate Genetics and Biotechnology (Ordinary Committee)

All posts have a four-year term (January 2024 – December 2027):

More details about the role are on the Committee Vacancies page.

Genetics Society Medal 2022 – Prof Robin Lovell-Badge

The 2022 Genetics Society medal is awarded to Robin Lovell-Badge.  Robin will receive his Medal at the Society autumn conference, Genetics of Reproduction, on 18th November 2022 at the Royal Society, London.

Robin Lovell-Badge is a senior group leader and head of the Laboratory of Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics at the Francis Crick Institute.

He obtained his PhD in embryology at University College London (UCL) in 1978, carrying out mouse stem cell and embryo research with Martin Evans.  It was during his postdoc in the Genetics Department at the University of Cambridge when Robin began to consider genetic approaches.  An EMBO Long Term Fellowship in Paris allowed him to develop methods for studying gene function and regulation, via embryonic stem cells and transgenic mice.  He then established his independent laboratory in 1982 at the Medical Research Council (MRC) Mammalian Development Unit,  UCL, directed by Anne McLaren. It was here that Robin began to study sex determination, combining embryology with molecular genetics and mutation studies in the mouse to test and find candidates for the Y-linked testis determining gene.  In 1988 he moved to the MRC National Institute for Medical Research (which was incorporated into the Francis Crick Institute in 2016), becoming Head of Division in 1993.

It was in 1990, in collaboration with Peter Goodfellow’s lab, that Robin identified Sry/SRY as a new candidate for the testis determining gene in mice and humans.  He went on to prove that Sry was the gene and the only one on the Y chromosome required to initiate testis rather than ovary differentiation.  Subsequent work by Robin’s lab and others have identified and tested the function of many other relevant genes and established many of the genetic pathways involved in the initiation and maintenance of gonadal sex.

At the same time as finding Sry/SRY, Robin’s lab also discovered the first members of the Sox gene family.  He went on to show, using genetic methods, the importance of Sox2 for pluripotency in the early embryo, and for Sox1, Sox2, Sox3 and Sox9 for the development of the central nervous system, the pituitary, and for stem cells in these systems.  In addition to being of fundamental interest, Robin’s work is of clinical relevance, providing better diagnosis and understanding of the etiology of disorders of sex differentiation and of disorders affecting the CNS and pituitary.

Robin was elected a member of EMBO (1993), a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (1999), the Royal Society (2001), the Royal Society of Arts (2002), the Royal Society of Biology (2011), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) (2018), and the Galton Institute (2018).  He has received the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine (1995), the Amory Prize (1996), the Feldberg Foundation Prize (2008), the Waddington Medal of the British Society for Developmental Biology (2010), and the ISSCR Public Service Award (2021).  He was awarded a CBE in the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

Robin was a Distinguished and is now a Special Visiting Professor at the University of Hong Kong (where he has also been a visiting professor since 1996); an Honorary Professor at UCL, (since 2003), and a Visiting Professor at King’s College London (since 2016). He is President of the Institute of Animal Technologists.

Robin is also very active in both public engagement and policy work, notably around stem cells, genetics, human embryo and animal research, and in ways science is regulated and disseminated.

Balfour Lecture 2022 – Dr Sam Behjati

Sam Behjati is a Group Leader / Wellcome Intermediate Fellow at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, and Honorary Consultant Paediatric Oncologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge.  Originally from Germany, he read medicine at the University of Oxford.  Subsequently he underwent academic clinical training in London and obtained his PhD from Cambridge.  He started his current position at Sanger in October 2018.

Sam’s research focuses on the origins of childhood cancer.  In one line of enquiry, he uses somatic mutations as barcodes of human development which enable the reconstruction of the embryology of tissues.

Sam has applied this approach to study normal tissue development, most notably, of the placenta, and to childhood cancers.  For example, in Wilms tumour, his analyses showed that many seemingly sporadic tumours arose from developmentally acquired clonal expansions.  In another line of research, Sam studies single childhood cancer cells, through the direct comparison of cancer with developmental cells, to place childhood cancers on trajectories of human development.

Sam’s work has been recognised by several awards such as the Pezcoller Foundation-EACR Rising Star Award, the Robert J. Arceci Innovation Award of the St Baldrick’s Foundation and the Science / SciLifeLab Prize for Young Scientists. He is an EMBO Young Investigator and has recently been awarded a Wellcome Senior Research Fellowship.

The Genetics Society is delighted to add to Sam’s accolade by awarding the 2022 Balfour lecture.  Sam will deliver his lecture at the Society Mendel’s 200th Birthday event on 20th July, 2022.

Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize 2020 – Rosa Cheesman

The 2019/20 Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize is awarded to Dr Rosa Cheesman.

Rosa’s outstanding thesis  ‘Leveraging family data for complex trait genomics’ was nominated by her PhD supervisor, Dr Jonathan Coleman, at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry Centre, King’s College London.

The thesis demonstrated how family-based quantitative genetics is not only the foundation for genomic research on complex psychological traits, but is of enduring value, especially when integrated with new genomic tools.

Rosa is now working as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Oslo’s new PROMENTA Centre where she is very excited to be investigating how genetic variation and social environments combine to shape children’s mental health and educational trajectories, using rich genetic, psychological and socio-demographic data.

The Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize rewards a BSc, MSc or PhD student of any UK University or Research Institution who has shown outstanding performance in the area of quantitative or population genetics.  The prize is awarded annually by The Genetics Society and The University of Birmingham and pertains to a project report, dissertation or thesis submitted during the academic year in question.

Rosa will receive her prize at the Society Mendel’s 200th Birthday event on 20th July, 2022.

JBS Haldane Lecture 2022 – Prof Mike Fay

The Genetics Society is delighted to announce Professor Mike Fay, Kew Gardens, as the winner of the 2022 JBS Haldane award.

Professor Fay graduated from the University College of Wales, Aberystwyth, in Genetics and Plant Breeding, and then carried out research on genetic resources in clover for his PhD at the Welsh Plant Breeding Station (now Institute of Biological, Environmental & Rural Sciences (IBERS), Aberystwyth University).  After two years working for the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureaux International as a Scientific Information Officer, he moved to Kew (where he still works) in 1986, as Head of the Micropropagation Unit.  In 1995, Mike established a program in Conservation Genetics in the Jodrell Laboratory.  Subsequently, he became Head of Genetics, and is now Senior Research Leader in Conservation Genetics and Molecular Ecology.

For many years, Mike’s research has focused on the application of genetic and other data in the formulation of conservation management plans, working extensively with Natural England and other organisations.  Major projects include population genetics of orchids and studies of polyploidy, hybridization and apomixis in endemic whitebeams and rowans (Sorbus species).

Mike has published > 220 publications in peer-reviewed journals, and he is joint author of Plant of the World – An Illustrated Encyclopedia of Vascular Plants (2017).  He has been Chair of the Orchid Specialist Group of the Species Survival Commission of IUCN since 2006 and Chief Editor of the Botanical Journal of the Linnean Society since 2008.

Mike’s interest in genetics extends beyond his professional life, and he is a keen amateur genealogist.


  • Bicentenary Medal, Linnean Society, 2000
  • Individual Merit Promotion, 2011 (to date)
  • Adjunct Professorship, University of Western Australia, 2016 (to date)

Professor Fay will present the JBS Haldane Lecture on the 17th November at the Royal Institute, London.

Functional Regulatory Genomics and Disease

Do join us 11-13th April in Edinburgh for our spring 2022 Scientific Meeting, Functional Regulatory Genomics and Disease.

Free registration and grant of up to £150 is available to early career researchers (including students) on submission of a relevant abstract.

Full details available here.

New Committee Members 2022

The Genetics Society welcomes two new members to the committee – Dr Jason Mellad and Dr Laura Dixon,  and the return of Professor Jonathan Pettitt.

Jason Mellad takes up the Corporate Genetics and Biotechnology post vacated by Alison Bentley.

Dr. Jason Mellad is a scientist entrepreneur passionate about translating innovative technologies into more effective therapies and better patient outcomes.  He founded Start Codon to identify and recruit high-potential and disruptive healthcare startups worldwide, seed fund them, and leverage the exceptional resources of the Cambridge (UK) Cluster with an aim to minimise risk and drive their success.  Previously, Jason was CEO of Cambridge Epigenetix which has developed a proprietary epigenetic biomarker discovery platform for the development of new diagnostic assays and the identification of novel drug targets.  While at Cambridge Epigenetix, he transformed the research tools company into a leading liquid biopsy player and led two successful fundraises (Series B and C) for a total of $49.8m.  He has also served as an associate at Cambridge Enterprise, the technology transfer office of the University of Cambridge.  Jason was awarded a Marshall Scholarship to obtain his PhD in Medicine from the University of Cambridge with a focus on the molecular mechanisms regulating vascular remodelling within coronary artery bypass grafts. He has a BSc (Summa Cum Laude) in Molecular Biology and Chemistry from Tulane University.  Through this position, Jason hopes to bring an entrepreneurial perspective to the Genetics Society to help drive the translation of further genomic innovations into the clinic.  He also aims to promote the broad adoption of next generation analytical techniques including epigenetics and chromatin conformation capture. 

Dr Laura Dixon takes up the Applied and Quantitative Genetics post vacated by Alastair Wilson.

Dr Laura Dixon is a lecturer in Crop Genetics and Physiology and UKRI Future Leader Fellow at the University of Leeds, UK.  She received her PhD from the University of Edinburgh (understanding plant circadian rhythms) and her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Cambridge (Natural Sciences).  Her research group works to understand how cereals respond to temperature signals and use this knowledge to adapt and increase the robustness of the plants developmental response to these signals.  The group’s work combines fundamental discovery science at the molecular and genetic level with the translation of this into realistic in-field environments.  Their work focuses on reproductive plant biology including the vegetative to floral transition, floret formation and flowering time regulation.  Through understanding these processes they aim to increase the developmental robustness of cereals, in particular wheat, under the increasingly variable climate conditions to enable an improvement in yield potential stability.  These research interests have developed from Dr Dixon’s previous work as a post-doctoral researcher at the John Innes Centre, Norwich where she investigated spikelet regulation and ambient temperature responses during the vegetative to floral transition in wheat.

Jonathan Pettitt returns to the committee after a short break to take over the post of Vice president for the Public Understanding of Genetics.

2022 Awards

Image: Frank Hailer

Mendel Medal 2022 – Professor Azim Surani and Professor Davor Solter

JBS Haldane Lecture 2022 – Dr Mike Fay, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Genetics Society Medal 2022 – Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, Francis Crick Institute, London

Mary Lyon Medal 2022 – Professor Irene Miguel-Aliaga, MRC LMS

Balfour Lecture 2022 – Dr Sam Behjati, Wellcome Sanger Institute, Cambridge

Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize 2020/21 – Dr Robert Hillary, University of Edinburgh


Professor William G Hill

photo: Anne-Katrin Purkiss

The Genetics Society is saddened to learn of the death of Professor William G. Hill FRS, on 17th December 2021.  Professor Hill was an eminent quantitative and population geneticist and recipient of the Society “Centenary Year” Mendel Medal (2019).

Professor Hill (Bill) was also a friend and much respected colleague of many Genetics Society members and beyond.  We send our sincere condolences  to his family, and plan to publish a longer tribute in 2022.

The Society has compiled a special tribute of personal memories, anecdotes and photographs of Bill.  If you have anything of your own that you would like to add, please forward to the website editor or honorary secretary

2020 Award Lectures -Friday

Join us online on Friday 25th of June  for the 2020 Genetics Society Award Lectures.

Attendance is free, if you haven’t registered already, please do so at the event webpage.

To mark the 102nd anniversary of The Genetics Society we are holding an online afternoon of talks by our 2020 medal winners.  There is an opportunity for audience members to ask questions, followed by a panel discussion on different paths within academic careers, including the ups and downs of such a journey.  This is  the first formal event presided by our new President: Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith.

The panel discussion will focus on ‘Careers in Academia’ and feature our medal winners along with Alexander Lorenz, Ros John, Gautam Dey, Serena Ding, and will be chaired by our Postgraduate Representative Emily Baker.

13.00 – Start of event (5 min intro by Professor Anne Ferguson-Smith)
13.05 – Dr Sarah Flanagan, University of Exeter, Neonatal Diabetes: 100 years since the discovery of Insulin
13.45 – Professor Alastair Wilson, University of Exeter, Competition, constraint and the evolutionary genetics of animal contests
14.25 – Professor Sir Peter Donnelly, University of Oxford, Unlocking the power of genomics to improve healthcare
15.05 – Panel discussion ‘Careers in Academia: Becoming a group leader in academia today’ A discussion chaired by Genetics Society Postgraduate Representative Emily Baker, who will be joined by the award winners as well as Dr Alexander Lorenz, Professor Ros John, Dr Serena Ding, and Dr Gautam Dey
16.00 – End of event


This event is free to attend, please visit the event webpage to register.


2021 Awards

The Genetics Society 2021 awards are as follows:

Mendel Medal 2021 – Professor Dame Linda Partridge

JBS Haldane Lecture 2021 – Professor Matthew Cobb, University of Manchester

Genetics Society Medal 2021 – Professor David Sherratt, University of Oxford

Mary Lyon Medal 2021 – Professor Julian Knight, University of Oxford

Balfour Lecture 2021 – Dr Alison Wright, University of Sheffield

Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize 2019/20 – Dr Rosa Cheesman, Kings College London.

Wendy Bickmore is awarded CBE in 2021 NY honours list

Our huge congratulations to recent president of The Genetics Society, Wendy Bickmore, who was awarded a CBE in the 2021 New Year’s Honours list, for her services to biomedical science and women in science.

Professor Bickmore is Director of the MRC Human Genetics Unit at the University of Edinburgh.



Genetics Shambles

The Genetics Society is delighted to be involved with Cosmic Shambles, a series of live discussions, interviews and  podcasts presented by Robin Ince, in association with The Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath

Genetics Shambles will focus on the work of some of the leading lights from the worlds of science and  genetics and feature in depth access rarely found in broadcast science series of today.

The series will use research surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic as a starting point before focusing on the wider wonders of the study of genetics.

The pilot episode of this series with Robin Ince chatting to immunologist Prof Sheena Cruickshank, microbiologist Prof Edward Feil and mathematical modeller of disease Dr Ellen Brooks Pollock about the state of COVID-19 investigation was broadcast on 11th June 2020.

The rest of the series will tackle such grand questions as:

  • Why do viruses affect some people more than others?
  • Where are we on the development of drugs and vaccines that will help to fight this pandemic and other viruses?
  • What have we learnt from the human genome and how has it helped us to understand inherited traits and improve our medicines?
  • And what does the future hold for genetic research in both a scientific, and ethical, sense?

Available fortnightly from Wednesday, 1st July, there will be 12 episodes in total.

This brand new and exclusive series will help us all to better understand the basic building blocks of the natural world.

Episode 12

Episode 11


Episode 10


Episode 9


Episode 8


Episode 7



Episode 6


Episode 5


Episode 4:


Episode 3:


Episode 2:


Episode 1:     |   cosmicshamblesnetwork    |  @cosmicshambles


2021 Mendel Medal – Professor Dame Linda Partridge

Professor Dame Linda Partridge, a past president of the Genetics Society, is awarded the Mendel Medal by current president Professor Laurence Hurst.

Linda Partridge is the Founding Director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing and a Professorial Fellow at UCL.  Linda trained as an evolutionary biologist, and her early work focussed on the evolutionary genetics of life histories, including ageing.  She subsequently helped to establish the evolutionary conservation of mechanisms of ageing, and her current work explores the possibility of repurposing existing drugs to maintain human health in old age. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Royal society of Edinburgh and the Academy of Medical Sciences, and an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

On hearing that she has been awarded the Mendel Medal, Linda said: “I am most honoured and delighted to be awarded the Mendel Medal. As an ex-President of the Genetics Society this award is of particular significance to me.”

We hope that Linda will be able to be presented with the award in person in October 2021.

2021 JBS Haldane Lecture – Professor Matthew Cobb

The Genetics Society is delighted to announce Professor Matthew Cobb as the winner of the 2021 JBS Haldane Lecture.

Matthew Cobb is Professor of Zoology at the University of Manchester where his research focuses on the sense of smell, insect behaviour and the history of science.  He has also written several books, including The Egg & Sperm Race and is regularly featured in articles in The Guardian and New Scientist.  Matthew can also be frequently heard on BBC radio programmes commenting on genetics, smell, aliens, and joining in the fun that is “The Infinite Monkey Cage”.

On being informed of the award, Matthew said:

“I am so pleased to receive the Haldane Award – it is a great honour. Haldane was one of the most extraordinary scientists of the 20th century, so to get an award in his name is doubly pleasing.  My thanks go to the Genetics Society for their generosity and I am looking forward to giving my Haldane Lecture, probably on the topic of the book I am writing at the moment – the social history of genetic engineering.”

We hope that Matthew will be able to present his lecture at the Royal Institution, in November 2021.

2021 Genetics Society Medal – Professor David Sherratt

The Genetics Society awards it’s own-named 2021 medal to Professor David Sherratt.

Professor David Sherratt is Iveagh Professor of Microbiology at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford.

In 1969 he completed his PhD at the University of Edinburgh, at the then newly formed department of Molecular Biology.  From Edinburgh David went on to become a post-doctoral Fellow at the University of California for two years, working on the newly characterised plasmid ColE1, in Don Helinski’s lab.  David returned to the UK in 1971 to become a lecturer at the University of Sussex. In 1980 he would go on to become Chair of Genetics at Glasgow University.  Then moving to Oxford in 1994 to take up post as Iveagh Chair of Microbiology, it was at this time David also served as president of the Genetics Society.

David considers himself a molecular detective who uses interdisciplinary approaches to understand how the bacterial chromosome is organized, replicated, repaired, unlinked and segregated within a living cell.  Studying how these processes are interwoven with cell physiology in steady state growth and under ‘perturbed’ conditions.

You can read more about Professor Sherratt’s academic biography and achievements in his article, The journey of a molecular detective, published in Heredity in 2019 as part of the Genetics Society’s centenary celebrations.

2021 Mary Lyon Medal – Professor Julian Knight

Julian Knight is awarded the 2021 Mary Lyon Medal by The Genetics Society.

Julian Knight is Professor of Genomic Medicine at the University of Oxford, and a Fellow and Tutor in Medicine at Merton College, Oxford.  His research investigates the genomics of immunity and how this can determine our individual response to infections such as sepsis and development of autoimmunity.

Julian trained as a clinician scientist, studying medicine at the University of Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh before completing his DPhil at the University of Oxford at the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine in 1998 with Dominic Kwiatkowski.  He developed his research interest in the functional genomics of immunity working in Oxford and at Harvard University in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology with Tom Maniatis.

Since 2005 Julian has worked at the Wellcome Centre for Human Genetics as a Principal Investigator and where he is now Deputy Director, and as an Honorary Consultant Physician at the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust in internal medicine where he contributes to the acute medical take and also chairs the Oxford Genomic Medicine Multi-Disciplinary Team.

Julian is Director of the Doctoral Training Programme in Genomic Medicine and Statistics at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians who awarded him the Graham Bull Prize in Clinical Science (2011) and Linacre Medal (2008).

2021 Balfour Lecture – Dr Alison Wright

The Genetics Society is delighted to announce Dr Alison Wright as the 2021 Balfour Lecture winner.

Alison Wright is a NERC Independent Research Fellow in the Department of Animal and Plant Sciences at the University of Sheffield.  She received her DPhil from the University of Oxford in 2015 before taking up a postdoctoral position at University College London with Professor Judith Mank.  Alison started her current position as a Research Fellow in January 2017.

Work in Alison’s group is focused on studying the genomic and evolutionary processes underlying sex differences, and the relationship between genotype and complex phenotypes.  Her PhD research centered on the evolution of sex chromosomes across birds and their role in sexually dimorphic phenotypes.  Alison shifted focus in her postdoctoral work to investigate the genomic origins of sex chromosomes using comparative studies across guppy populations.  Recent work in her group studies how sex-specific selection pressures shape the evolution of gene regulation across portions of the genome that are shared equally between males and females.

The quality and impact of Alison’s research has been recognised by several international awards, including the Jasper-Loftus Hill Young Investigator Award in 2017 from the American Society of Naturalists, Certificate of Commendation in 2016 from the Zoological Society of London in recognition of the quality of her doctoral thesis, the SSE Presidents’ Award for an Outstanding Dissertation Paper in Evolution in 2015 and a Walter Fitch Prize Finalist in 2012 from the Society for Molecular Biology & Evolution.

Summer Studentship 2020 Prize Winners

The summer studentship workshop planned for 2020 in Oxford was unable to go ahead.

Instead, a virtual event was organised and 20 students gave three minute presentations of their projects.

We are delighted to announce the following winners:

First place goes to Violette Pepper for her talk about a mutant screening of Eragrostis tef, an Ethiopian cereal crop.

Georgia Whitton, who focused on the role of alternative splicing and how long-read sequencing is enhancing our understanding of the transcriptome, won second prize.

Third prize went to Daniele Cotton who studied Gene-level analysis of breast cancer heritability in European populations.


Edith Rebecca Saunders 155th birthday

Today, 14th October 2020, would have been the 155th birthday of Edith Rebecca (Becky) Saunders, founder of The Genetics Society.

Becky was a remarkable woman with many talents, who led a full and interesting life.

Much of Becky’s life has been documented by Christine Alexander, Library of Genetics, Cambridge University:

Private life

Balfour Lab

Women in science

My Colleague

Mother of genetics


British Assoc.


Giles Yeo awarded MBE

The Genetics Society is delighted to congratulate Dr Giles Yeo on his MBE award announced in the Queens Birthday Honours List today.

In response to the announcement, Giles said “I can assure you that this was entirely unexpected.  Because it was in times of COVID, the notification, instead of being on expensive official stationery, came via email, and I initially thought it was a phishing scam!  Anyway, it wasn’t, and I’m deeply honoured to be recognised for my contributions to communicating and engagement in research.  I am grateful to be working at an Institution which has allowed me to breathe and to follow my passion.”

In recognition of Giles’ public engagement activities,  Giles was the recipient of the 2019 Genetics Society JBS Haldane Lecture, presented at the Royal Institution in November last year, available to watch here.

Giles also spoke at the Genetics Society sponsored Ri Christmas Lecture in Hong Kong earlier this year.


2020 Nobel Prize awarded for CRISPR/Cas9 invention

Emmanuelle Charpentier, director at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Germany, and Jennifer Doudna, professor of biochemistry at the University of California, Berkeley, US, are the joint winners of the Nobel prize in chemistry 2020 for the development of a precise method of editing genomes.

This is the first time two female scientists have won the prize that will be shared equally between the laureates.

The Genetics Society is delighted to congratulate these two fabulous ladies on their award.  What an accomplishment!



Heredity announces 2020 best student paper prize

The 2020 Heredity best student-led paper prize has been awarded to Donald McKnight, from James Cook University..  This is the first prize to be awarded form this new initiative to encourage students to submit material to the journal.

The quality of papers was in general very high and thanks are extended to all of the authors for submitting their research to Heredity specifically congratulate those contributing to the long- and short-listed papers.

Donald McKnight, James Cook University, Australia
Infection dynamics, dispersal, and adaptation: understanding the lack of recovery in a remnant frog population following a disease outbreak

Runners up
Kerry Gendreau, Virginia Tech University, USA
Sex linkage of the skeletal muscle sodium channel gene (SCN4A) explains apparent deviations from Hardy–Weinberg equilibrium of tetrodotoxin-resistance alleles in garter snakes (Thamnophis sirtalis)
Kyle Ewart, University of Sydney, Australia
Phylogeography of the iconic Australian red-tailed black-cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii) and implications for its conservation

Honourable Mentions
Best paper by a student from a Lower and Middle Income Country
Mateus Ribeiro Mota, Universidade Estadual Paulista, Brazil
From micro- to macroevolution: insights from a Neotropical bromeliad with high population genetic structure adapted to rock outcrops

Best theory paper led by a student 
Léa Boyrie, Université Paul Sabatier, France
A linkage disequilibrium-based statistical test for Genome-Wide Epistatic Selection Scans in structured populations

Xinxing Wang, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
DNA methylation mediates differentiation in thermal responses of Pacific oyster (Crassostrea gigas) derived from different tidal levels
Camilla Avanzi, University of Parma, Italy
Individual reproductive success in Norway spruce natural populations depends on growth rate, age and sensitivity to temperature

Ashley Sendell-Price, University of Oxford, UK
Rapid morphological divergence following a human-mediated introduction: the role of drift and directional selection
Michael P. Shahandeh, University of California Santa Barbara, USA
The complex genetic architecture of male mate choice evolution between Drosophila species
Annalaura Jokiniemi, University of Eastern Finland, Finland
Gamete-level immunogenetic incompatibility in humans–towards deeper understanding of fertilization and infertility?
Marianne Gagnon, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada
Adult survival in migratory caribou is negatively associated with MHC functional diversity

Coronovirus vaccines – how?

Scientists at the University of Bath Milner Centre are looking at the evolution of Coronovirus to help with the design of a new vaccine.

We are mutating SARS-CoV-2, but it is evolving back

Genetics Society President Laurence Hurst explains more in a Tweet:



35 years of DNA Fingerprinting

The 35th Anniversary of the invent of Genetic Fingerprinting by Sir Alec Jefferys was celebrated at Leicester University on Friday 6th March, 2020.

The Genetics Society Hon. Secretary and 2020 Haldane lecture winner, Jonathan Pettitt,  presented Sir Alec with a copy of the personal letter dated 18 April 1905 from William Bateson to  Adam Sedgwick (1854–1913, zoologist at Cambridge) describing the study of inheritance and the science of variation.

Photos of the evening.

Listen to Dr Kat Arney talk to Sir Alec about his accidental invention in this episode of Genetics Unzipped.


Geneticist Trumps

The Genetics Society has produced a Top Trumps-style card game that was sent to every UK secondary school.

Update: the 2020 version can be downloaded in PDF format.

Designed for education, ‘Geneticist Trumps’ provides a fun way to learn about influential scientists and their work in a competitive game format.  The project was funded by a Tier 2 Public Engagement Grant and the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research innovation programme.  As a soft launch to coincide with the Society’s 100th anniversary, packs of cards were given away to those who attended the ‘Century of Genetics‘ conference in 2019.

The game consists of 30 playing cards featuring history’s greatest geneticists and explains how they changed our understanding of genes and heredity.  Each card also shows five categories and corresponding scores.  The player with the highest score in a selected category wins their opponents’ cards.  A geneticist’s scores for ‘Fame’ and ‘Impact’ are based on objective measures of online popularity and published research, while their ‘Special Power’ gives a characteristic or hobby that reflects their personality (scores for this category help balance the deck and don’t relate directly to their ability).

‘Geneticist Trumps’ is freely available to download for printing, ideally in colour on thin cardboard.  You can find out more about the various scientists featured on the cards through the links below.

Special Powers

2020 Awards

The Genetics Society Prize and Medal Winners 2020 are as follows:

JBS Haldane Lecture 2010 – Dr Jonathan Pettitt, University of Aberdeen

Genetics Society Medal 2020 – Professor Sir Peter Donnelly, University of Oxford

Balfour Lecture 2020 – Dr Sarah Flanagan, University of Exeter

Mary Lyon medal 2020 – Professor Alastair Wilson, University of Exeter

Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize 2018/19 -Goncalo Faria, University of St. Andrews

Mather Memorial Prize 2018/19

The Genetics Society and The University of Birmingham are delighted to announce Gonçalo Faria as the winner of the 2018/19 Sir Kenneth Mather Memorial Prize.

Gonçalo’s recently completed thesis (that includes several publications) was submitted for consideration by his PhD Supervisor, Andy Gardner, from the University of St. Andrews, in a field of stiff competition from several other universities.

Gonçalo will be awarded his prize and present a precis of his work at the 2021 Pop Group meeting.  Details to be announced.

Public Engagement Grants

Making excellent use of Tier 2 funding for Public Engagement activities, The Roslin Institute can be found at various local Agricultural Shows throughout Scotland and the Lake District this summer.

Pictured here at the Stewartry Show, Castle Douglas, Dumfries and Galloway on 1st August, the team of scientists welcomed over 100 participants to the exhibition of genetics related animal  research, with fun activities explaining why such work is vital to improve health and welfare in livestock species.

Date Show
4 May 2019 National Museum of Rural Life
27 May 2019 Northumberland County *
29 June 2019 Haddington
1 August 2019 Stewartry *
10 August 2019 Mid-Argyll *
17 August 2019 Peebles
31 August 2019 Lairg Crofters Show *
7 September 2019 Dalmally *
28 September 2019 Eskdale *

Summer Studentship Class of 2019

Summer Studentship Summer School class of 2019. Congratulations to the 30 lucky students on being selected from over 100 applicants. Held at the IGMM, Edinburgh, we have witnessed the end of the Festival fireworks, eaten a lot of pizza and sandwiches, had one or two beers, and listened to fascinating talks from everyone participating, including Society President Laurence Laurence D Hurst. Thanks to everyone for really engaging and committing to enjoying the experience. Thanks also to Douglas Vernimmen for precision organisation.