Comparative Genomics | Evolutionary Biology | Zoology

Our research aims to understand the evolution of complex traits. We're especially interested in understanding the biology and 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 a targeted range of animals, our work aims to elucidate the biology and 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: lizards, pot-bellied seahorses, sharks, the platypus, and marsupials. 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


Pot-bellied seahorses. Credit: Jacquie Herbert

Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii. Credit: Jacquie Herbert

Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii. Credit: Jacquie Herbert

Saiphos equalis- credit: Nadav Pezaro

Saiphos equalis- credit: Nadav Pezaro

Pot-bellied seahorses

© C Whittington

Three-toed skink

© C Whittington

Fat-tailed dunnart

© Alan Couch (via Wikimedia Commons)

Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii embryo. Credit: Oliver Griffith

Pseudemoia entrecasteauxii embryo. Credit: Oliver Griffith


© Rainbow606 (via Wikimedia Commons)

Lab News

April 2020: Congratulations to Dr Sadeq Khan, PhD completed!
August 2020: Stevie our educational skink is ready for Semester 2- now online!
April 2020: Charles' work suggests this skink is a unique transitional form
September 2020: 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!
July 2020: Zoe's research featured in the Sydney Morning Herald
June 2020: Congratulations to Dr Claudia Santori, PhD completed!

Contact us:

​Camilla Whittington


The University of Sydney

School of Life and Environmental Sciences


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Three-toed skink

© C Whittington

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