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


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)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • 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