Dr Annabel Charlotte Whibley

2000 BA(Hons) Biological Sciences, Magdalen College, University of Oxford; 2005 PhD, Molecular Genetics and Evolution, University of East Anglia (John Innes Centre).

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Research Fellow
Lead Technologist


2019- Present Postdoctoral researcher (Santure group), School of Biological Sciences, University of Auckland, NZ

2014-2018 Postdoctoral researcher (Coen group), Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK

2010-2013 Postdoctoral researcher (Joron group), Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France.

2006-2010 Postdoctoral researcher (Raymond group), Cambridge Institute for Medical Research, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK

2004-2006 Grade A trainee in Clinical Molecular Genetics, Guy's Hospital, London, UK

Research | Current

With Anna Santure (SBS, University of Auckland) and Rebecca Johnson (Australian Museum Research Institute, Sydney), I am currently working to improve the draft genome of the Indian myna (Acridotheres tristis) ahead of hopefully developing this as a model system to investigate whether transposable element activity plays a key role in facilitating adaptation in invasive species.

More generally, I am fascinated by how adaptive traits evolve in natural populations and increasingly leverage powerful genomics technologies in combination with more classical genetics approaches to address these questions. Most recently I have been searching for functional variants and genomic architectures that account for colour pattern differences in Antirrhinum (snapdragon) flowers and Heliconius butterfly wings but as a recent arrival in NZ I am also scouting for new, and ideally endemic, systems that offer the potential to provide insights into the mechanisms of evolutionary processes.

Areas of expertise

  • Genetics and Genomics
  • Evolutionary Biology
  • Sequencing technologies and diagnostic methods

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Tavares, H., Whibley, A., Field, D. L., Bradley, D., Couchman, M., Copsey, L., ... Li, M. (2018). Selection and gene flow shape genomic islands that control floral guides. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 115 (43), 11006-11011. 10.1073/pnas.1801832115
  • Jay, P., Whibley, A., Frézal L, Rodríguez de Cara MÁ, Nowell, R. W., Mallet, J., ... Joron, M. (2018). Supergene Evolution Triggered by the Introgression of a Chromosomal Inversion. Current biology : CB, 28 (11), 1839-1845.e3. 10.1016/j.cub.2018.04.072
  • Bradley, D., Xu, P., Mohorianu, I.-I., Whibley, A., Field, D., Tavares, H., ... Li, M. (2017). Evolution of flower color pattern through selection on regulatory small RNAs. Science (New York, N.Y.), 358 (6365), 925-928. 10.1126/science.aao3526
  • Nadeau, N. J., Pardo-Diaz, C., Whibley, A., Supple, M. A., Saenko, S. V., Wallbank, R. W. R., ... Hanly, J. J. (2016). The gene cortex controls mimicry and crypsis in butterflies and moths. Nature, 534 (7605), 106-110. 10.1038/nature17961
  • Heliconius Genome Consortium (2012). Butterfly genome reveals promiscuous exchange of mimicry adaptations among species. Nature, 487 (7405), 94-98. 10.1038/nature11041
  • Joron, M., Frezal, L., Jones, R. T., Chamberlain, N. L., Lee, S. F., Haag, C. R., ... Ferguson, L. (2011). Chromosomal rearrangements maintain a polymorphic supergene controlling butterfly mimicry. Nature, 477 (7363), 203-206. 10.1038/nature10341
  • Whibley, A. C., Plagnol, V., Tarpey, P. S., Abidi, F., Fullston, T., Choma, M. K., ... Parkin, G. (2010). Fine-scale survey of X chromosome copy number variants and indels underlying intellectual disability. American journal of human genetics, 87 (2), 173-188. 10.1016/j.ajhg.2010.06.017
  • Tarpey, P. S., Smith, R., Pleasance, E., Whibley, A., Edkins, S., Hardy, C., ... Menzies, A. (2009). A systematic, large-scale resequencing screen of X-chromosome coding exons in mental retardation. Nature genetics, 41 (5), 535-543. 10.1038/ng.367


Contact details

Primary office location

Level 1, Room 149
New Zealand

Web links