Dr Kanchon Dasmahapatra



2012 Lecturer Department of Biology, University of York 
2004 - 2012 Post-Doc University College London
2004 PhD Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge
2000 MRes University College London
1999 BA   University of Cambridge



Research centres on understanding the process of speciation in heliconiine and ithomiine butterflies. Both groups of butterflies are found in the neotropics and are noted for the diversity of wing colour patterns found within species, as well as also for mimetic convergence of colour patterns between species (Müllarian mimicry).

Making use of the Heliconius melpomene reference genome, the current focus involves using high-throughput sequencing approaches to understand the speciation process at the scale of the genome. In particular we are investigating genome-wide patterns of divergence, adaptive introgression, and quantifying the amount of genomic exchange between species.

Two references

Dasmahapatra KK, Walters JR et al (2012) Butterfly genome reveals promiscuous exchange of mimicry adaptations among species. Nature 487: 94-98.

Martin SH, Dasmahapatra KK, Nadeau NJ, Salazar C, Walters JR, Simpson F, Blaxter ML, Manica A, Mallet J, Jiggins CD (in press) Genome-wide evidence for speciation with gene flow in Heliconius butterflies. Genome Research 


We have recently published the genome sequence of the neotropical butterfly Heliconius melpomene. By comparing the genomes of closely-related Heliconius species we have discovered that adaptive genes involved in determining mimicry colour patterns have been shared between species by hybridization.


  • Pre-zygotic reproductive barriers in Heliconius butterflies, Funding body: NERC studentship
  • The importance of gene flow in speciation of Heliconius butterflies, Funding body: NERC New Investigator Grant

Research group(s)

Research Student Jake Morris Pre-zygotic reproductive barriers in Heliconius butterflies
Postdoctoral research assistant Neil Rosser The importance of gene flow in speciation of Heliconius butterflies

Dr Kanchon Dasmahapatra

Contact details

Dr Kanchon Dasmahapatra
Department of Biology
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 328635