Genetics of Reproduction

Royal Society, London 18 November, 2022

General Information

Useful links:
Meeting programme
Abstract book

A day of talks, featuring invited speakers, talks chosen from abstracts and poster presentations with in person and hybrid options.

Reproduction is the process whereby organisms pass on their genetic information to the next generation.  Reproductive strategies are highly varied and success is measured not only by the number of offspring produced but also the reproductive success of the next generation.  Mammals (and some fish and reptiles) have evolved a strategy whereby fertilised eggs are retained inside the female, the embryo receives nourishment from the mother via a placenta and the offspring a born alive.  Further maternal resources in the form of milk are exclusively provided by the mother alongside high-quality maternal care. This intimate and bidirectional relationship between the mammalian mother and her offspring increases the chances of offspring surviving to adulthood to reproduce but places a substantial burden on the mother.  Direct nurturing by the mother also creates an excellent opportunity for exploitation both by the offspring she carries and cares for, and by the male parent.  While these adaptations have led to the global success of mammals, they are also linked to highly common pregnancy complications which impact the health of the mother, her offspring and, in some cases, her offspring’s offspring.  This meeting will cover establishment of the mammalian germline, embryonic and placental development and common pregnancy complications finishing with a lively debate on the evolution of pregnancy led by invited speakers.

There will also be a Genetics Society Medal talk by Professor Robin Lovell-Badge (CBE, FRS FMedSci).

Find more about the event location here:

Meeting organisers:

Dr Marika Charalambous (Kings College, London) and Prof Ros John (Cardiff University)

For additional information contact Hg3 Conferences


  • Nine oral presentations chosen from submitted abstracts
  • Poster session
  • Prizes for best talk and best poster from early career researcher

Professor Petra Hajkova, “Stability and turnover of epigenetic information in vivo
Interim Institute Director MRC London Institute of Medical Sciences (LMS), Imperial College, London, UK; Genetics Society Mary Lyon Medal winner 2017
Research interests: Epigenetic reprogramming in the developing mouse germ line and zygote.

Professor Kathy Niakan, “Genetic approaches to study early lineage specification in human embryos”
Mary Marshall and Arthur Walton Professor of Reproductive Physiology; Director, Centre for Trophoblast Research; Chair, Strategic Research Initiative in Reproduction, Department of Physiology, Development and Neuroscience, Cambridge University, UK
Research interests: Genetic regulation of early human development

Professor Myriam Hemberger, “The under-estimated role of the placenta on developmental outcome and congenital defects”
Department of Medical Genetics, University of Calgary, Canada
Research interests: Developmental Biology, Epigenetics, Pregnancy, Reproduction, Stem Cells

Professor Dave Grattan, “Pregnancy hormones act in the maternal brain to facilitate adaptive changes in maternal physiology”
Director and Principal Investigator, Centre for Neuroendocrinology, Otago University, New Zealand
Research interests: Neuroendocrine and neurobiological adaptations of the maternal brain

Dr Rachel Freathy, “Insights into fetal growth and its links with adult diseases from human genetic association studies of birth weight”
Associate Professor and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, University of Exeter Medical School, UK
Research interests: Genetic factors affecting the growth of a foetus in utero and association with type 2 diabetes

Prof Alexander Heazell, “Current and Novel Approaches to the Investigation of Perinatal Death – The role of genetic testing.”
Director of the Tommy’s Stillbirth Research Centre and leads the stillbirth research theme at the Maternal and Fetal Health Research Centre, Division of Developmental Biology & Medicine, University of Manchester, UK
Research interests: Maternal and Fetal Health Research; still birth

Professor Vincent J  Lynch, “Evolutionary transcriptomics implicates new genes and pathways in human pregnancy and adverse pregnancy outcomes”
Department of Biological Sciences, University at Buffalo, USA
Research Interests: Genetics, Genomics and Systems Biology; Evolutionary Biology.

Genetics Society Medal Talk:
Professor Robin Lovell-Badge, “Sex determination”
Stem Cell Biology and Developmental Genetics Laboratory, Francis Crick Institute, London, UK
Research Interests: sex determination; cell fate decisions