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Barton Group

Evolutionary genetics

The Barton group develops mathematical models to probe fundamental issues in evolution: for example, how do new species form, what limits adaptation, and what shapes the genetic system? Nick Barton and his group study diverse topics in evolutionary genetics. The main focus of their work is the effects of natural selection on many genes, and the evolution of populations that are distributed across space. They develop statistical models for the evolution of complex traits, which depend on the combined effects of very many genes. Working with other groups at ISTA, they study the evolution of gene regulation, using a thermodynamic model of transcription factor binding. A substantial component of the group’s work is a long-term study of the hybrid zone between two populations of snapdragons (Antirrhinum) that differ in flower color. This combines detailed field observation with genetic data to estimate population structure and fitness variation over multiple scales, and serves as a test-bed for developing ways to infer selection and demography from genetic data.




Team

Image of Sofia Backlund

Sofia Backlund

PhD Student

Image of Céline Camila Coraly Bräutigam

Céline Camila Coraly Bräutigam

PhD Student

Image of Louise Fouqueau

Louise Fouqueau

Postdoc


Image of Diego Garcia Castillo

Diego Garcia Castillo

PhD Student

Image of Laura Hayward

Laura Hayward

Postdoc

Image of Michal Hledik

Michal Hledik

PhD Student


Image of Hila Lifchitz

Hila Lifchitz

PhD Student

Image of Stepan Ovchinnikov

Stepan Ovchinnikov

PhD Student


Image of Arka Pal

Arka Pal

PhD Student

Image of Evgeniya Pravdolyubova

Evgeniya Pravdolyubova

PhD Student

Image of Gemma Puixeu Sala

Gemma Puixeu Sala

Postdoc


Image of Hilde Schneemann

Hilde Schneemann

Postdoc

Image of Rosina Soler

Rosina Soler

Postdoc

Image of Parvathy Surendranadh

Parvathy Surendranadh

PhD Student


Image of Anastasiya Tsyhanova

Anastasiya Tsyhanova

PhD Student

Image of Benjamin Wölfl

Benjamin Wölfl

Postdoc


Current Projects

Evolutionary computation | Evolution of complex traits | Analysis of selection experiments | Understanding genealogies in space and at multiple loci | Inference from DNA sequence | Speciation and hybridization in Antirrhinum


Publications

Olusanya OO. 2024. Local adaptation, genetic load and extinction in metapopulations. Institute of Science and Technology Austria. View

Pal A, Joshi M, Thaker M. 2024. Too much information? Males convey parasite levels using more signal modalities than females utilise. Journal of Experimental Biology. 227(1), jeb246217. View

Stankowski S, Zagrodzka ZB, Garlovsky MD, Pal A, Shipilina D, Garcia Castillo DF, Lifchitz H, Le Moan A, Leder E, Reeve J, Johannesson K, Westram AM, Butlin RK. 2024. The genetic basis of a recent transition to live-bearing in marine snails. Science. 383(6678), 114–119. View

Arathoon LS. 2023. Investigating inbreeding depression and the self-incompatibility locus of Antirrhinum majus. Institute of Science and Technology Austria. View

Robinson ML et al. 2023. Plant size, latitude, and phylogeny explain within-population variability in herbivory. Science. 382(6671), 679–683. View

View All Publications

ReX-Link: Nick Barton


Career

Since 2008 Professor, Institute of Science and Technology Austria (ISTA)
1990 – 2008 Reader and Professor, University of Edinburgh, UK
1982 – 1990 Lecturer and Reader, University College London, UK
1980 – 1982 Demonstrator, Cambridge University, UK
1979 PhD, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK


Selected Distinctions

ISI Highly Cited Researcher
2016 Schrödinger Lecture, Dublin
2013 Erwin Schrödinger Prize, Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)
2013 Mendel Medal, German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
2009 Linnean Society Darwin-Wallace Medal
2009 ERC Advanced Grant
2006 Royal Society Darwin Medal
2001 President, Society for the Study of Evolution
1998 American Society of Naturalists President’s Award
1994 Fellow, Royal Society of London
1994 David Starr Jordan Prize


Additional Information

Download CV
View Barton group website
Mathematics at ISTA
Barton Group YouTube video



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