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 IST Austria, 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.


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Team

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Louise Arathoon

PhD Student

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Carina Baskett

Postdoc

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Stefanie Belohlavy

PhD Student


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Laura Hayward

Postdoc

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Michal Hledik

PhD Student

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Ksenia Khudiakova

PhD Student


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Lenka Matejovicova

PhD Student

+43 2243 9000 4731

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Oluwafunmilola Olusanya

PhD Student

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Arka Pal

PhD Student


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Gemma Puixeu Sala

PhD Student

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Sean Stankowski

Postdoc

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Parvathy Surendranadh

PhD Student


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Anja Westram

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

Butlin RK, Servedio MR, Smadja CM, Bank C, Barton NH, Flaxman SM, Giraud T, Hopkins R, Larson EL, Maan ME, Meier J, Merrill R, Noor MAF, Ortiz‐Barrientos D, Qvarnström A. 2021. Homage to Felsenstein 1981, or why are there so few/many species? Evolution., evo. 14235. View

Stankowski S, Ravinet M. 2021. Defining the speciation continuum. Evolution. View

Szep E, Sachdeva H, Barton NH. 2021. Polygenic local adaptation in metapopulations: A stochastic eco‐evolutionary model. Evolution., evo. 1421010. View

Salces-Castellano A, Stankowski S, Arribas P, Patino J, Karger DN, Butlin R, Emerson BC. 2021. Long-term cloud forest response to climate warming revealed by insect speciation history. Evolution. 75(22), 231–244. View

Fraisse C, Sachdeva H. 2021. The rates of introgression and barriers to genetic exchange between hybridizing species: Sex chromosomes vs autosomes. Genetics. 217(2), iyaa025. View

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Career

since 2008 Professor, IST Austria
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
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