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Dr Daniel Jeffares



2017- Lecturer  Department of Biology, University of York 
2009-2016 Senior Research Fellow  Research Department of Genetics, Evolution & Environment, Univesity College of London
2008-2009  Staff Scientist Population and Comparative Genomics Group Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute 
2004-2008 Research Associate  Population and Comparative Genomics Group, Wellcome Trust Sanger
2001 Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Evolutionary Biology, University of Copenhagen
2001 PhD (Plant Biology) Massey University, New Zealand
1994 BSc Honours (1st Class Biological Science) Massey University, New Zealand
1990 BSc (Botany) Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand



We study evolutionary processes in genomes. We use this data to describe how genomes change, while maintaining the function of the molecular machinery of the cell and competing in a natural environment. We use a variety of laboratory and computational techniques, applying methods from molecular evolution, population genomics, comparative genomics, functional genomics (we also use also tinkering and plenty of thinking). We are open to exploring evolutionary genomics in a variety of species and timescales.

Recent research

Most recently we have been working with the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a model. We begun the process of describing the evolutionary history, genetic and phenotypic diversity of this model. Our aim is to describe how the genome and variations in the genome create the variation in the species.

So far, we have described genomic diversity of all known wild strains, analysed more than 220 traits, described their heritability and conducted the first genome-wide association studies (GWAS) for this species (Nature Genetics 2015). We also showed these wild strains have potential in the winemaking industry. We then described structural variation in the genome (large duplications/deletions, inversions and translations).We showed that structural variants contribute considerably to heritable traits and some appear to be transient within populations (Nature Communications 2017).


The fission yeast dispersed throughout the world in within human history (~340 BCE)
It is feasible to conduct genome-wide association studies (GWAS) in fission yeast
Structural variants (such as duplications) can be transient and can influence quantitative traits

Previous topics
Origin and early evolution of life
Evolution of introns, from the early evolution of life to the factors that affect their loss
Genomic diversity and selective constraint in malaria parasites (Plasmodium species)


Saturating transposon mutagenesis of the fission yeast genome.
Population genomics of the fission yeast part II: China.
How frequently are structural variationsare transient in plant, animal and fungal genomes?

Research group(s)

We are a new group and we will be expanding. If you are interested in genome evolution, either using laboratory or computational methods, get in touch.

Available PhD research projects

Self-funded PhD applications are welcome.


Contact details

Dr Daniel Jeffares
Department of Biology
University of York
YO10 5DD

Tel: 01904 328585