Comparative Genomics | Evolutionary Biology | Zoology

Our research aims to understand the genetic basis of complex evolutionary innovations. We're especially interested in understanding the evolution of pregnancy and the placenta.


Evolutionary innovations like eyes, wings, venom, and live-birth are dramatic, game-changing novelties that are responsible for much of the Earth’s animal diversity. However, their origins are poorly understood because they are produced by the collective action and evolution of thousands of genes. By examining the genetics and physiology of a targeted range of animals, our work aims to elucidate the genetic basis of evolutionary innovations and to discover fundamental evolutionary mechanisms.

Through this research, we are also working to increase our knowledge of the fundamental biology of some of Australia’s unique native species: sharks, the platypus, pot-bellied seahorse, and lizards. Our interests encompass evolutionary biology, genetics and genomics, physiology, anatomy and histology, animal behaviour, and conservation.

PhD and Honours projects are available- see here for details

Lab News

April 2020: Congratulations to Dr Sadeq Khan, PhD completed!
March 2020: Stevie our educational skink is ready for Semester 1- now online!
April 2020: our research suggests this lizard is a unique transitional form
Dec 2019: Field work season has started!
April 2019: Eggs and live birth from a single pregnancy- Biology Letters
Nov 2019: Congratulations Zoe on a great honours year!
Seahorse pregnancy research featured in Science
PhD and Honours projects available

Contact us:

​Camilla Whittington


The University of Sydney

School of Life and Environmental Sciences


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