Imperial College London


Faculty of Natural SciencesDepartment of Life Sciences (Silwood Park)

Professor of Evolutionary Genetics



+44 (0)20 7594 2266a.burt




Silwood ParkSilwood Park






Research Interests

Homing Endonuclease Genes (HEGs).
We have been studying the evolutionary dynamics of these nonMendelian selfish genes, particularly in yeasts.

Population Genetic Engineering.
I am interested in using selfish genetic elements to genetically manipulate natural populations; our first targets are the mosquitoes that transmit malaria.

Population Genomics and Phylogenetics of Yeasts.
The tremendous amount that is known about the biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology of yeasts makes them ideal model systems for addressing questions in evolutionary and population biology.

Molecular Ecology of a Pathogenic Mammal.
Canine Transmissible Venereal Tumor (CTVT) is a sexually transmitted parasitic cell line currently circulating in feral dog populations; we are interested in its origins and how it has adapted to its new way of life.

Selected publications

Windbichler N, Menichelli M, Papathanos PA, Thyme SB, Li H, Ulge UY, Hovde BT, Baker D, Monnat RJ, Burt A, Crisanti A, 2011 A synthetic homing endonuclease-based gene drive system in the human malaria mosquito. Nature 473:212-215 (doi)

Rebbeck CA, Leroi AM, Burt A, 2011 Mitochondrial capture by a transmissible cancer. Science 331:303 (doi)

Tsai IJ, Burt A, Koufopanou V, 2010 Conservation of recombination hotspots in yeast. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 107:7847-7852 (doi)

Tsai IJ, Bensasson D, Burt A, Koufopanou V, 2008 Population genomics of the wild yeast Saccharomyces paradoxus: Quantifying the life cycle. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA105 4957-4962 (doi)

Goddard MR, Godfray HC, Burt A, 2005 Sex increases the efficacy of natural selection in experimental yeast populations. Nature 434:636-640 (doi)

Burt A, Koufopanou V, 2004 Homing endonuclease genes: the rise and fall and rise again of a selfish element. Curr Opin Genet Dev 14:609-615 (doi)

Burt A, 2003 Site-specific selfish genes as tools for the control and genetic engineering of natural populations. Proc Roy Soc Lond B 270:921-928 (doi)


Genes in Conflict: The Biology of Selfish Genetic Elements

Austin Burt and Robert Trivers

Genes in Conflict, The Biology of Selfish Genetic Elements - Austin Burt, Robert Trivers

Detailed contents [PDF format]
Information @ Harvard University Press website




Khatri BS, Burt A, 2019, Robust estimation of recent effective population size from number of independent origins in soft sweeps, Molecular Biology and Evolution, ISSN:1537-1719

North AR, Burt A, Godfray HCJ, 2019, Modelling the potential of genetic control of malaria mosquitoes at national scale, Bmc Biology, Vol:17, ISSN:1741-7007

Kyrou K, Hammond AM, Galizi R, et al., 2018, A CRISPR-Cas9 gene drive targeting doublesex causes complete population suppression in caged Anopheles gambiae mosquitoes, Nature Biotechnology, Vol:36, ISSN:1087-0156, Pages:1062-1066

Burt A, Deredec A, 2018, Self-limiting population genetic control with sex-linked genome editors, Proceedings of the Royal Society B-biological Sciences, Vol:285, ISSN:0962-8452

Lambert B, North A, Burt A, et al., 2018, The use of driving endonuclease genes to suppress mosquito vectors of malaria in temporally variable environments, Malaria Journal, Vol:17, ISSN:1475-2875

More Publications