Dr Alison Wright

School of Biosciences

NERC Independent Research Fellow

BIOSC staff profile Alison Wright
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Dr Alison Wright
School of Biosciences
Alfred Denny Building
Western Bank
S10 2TN
  • NERC Independent Research Fellow, University of Sheffield, UK (2017‒present)
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate, University College London, UK (2014‒2017)
  • DPhil Zoology, University of Oxford – thesis title ‘Mating system, sex-specific selection and the evolution of the avian sex chromosomes’ (2010‒2014)
  • BA Biological Sciences, University of Oxford (2007‒2010)
Research interests

Males and females of many species across the animal kingdom often look and behave very differently. However, the two sexes share an almost identical set of genes. So, how do these remarkable sex differences arise?

Sex chromosomes are the only region of the genome to differ between females and males, and are, therefore, predicted to play key roles in the evolution of sexual dimorphism. My research is centered on understanding the genomic and evolutionary processes underlying sex differences. In particular, I am interested in:

  • the origins and turnover of sex chromosome systems
  • sex chromosome degeneration
  • role of the sex chromosomes in sexual dimorphism
  • evolution of gene expression and dosage compensation
  • genome evolution and sexual selection.

Show: Featured publications All publications

Journal articles

All publications

Journal articles


Research group


  • Daniela Palmer (2019-2021) - NSF Postdoctoral Fellow: Evolution and diversity of sex chromosomes

PhD students

  • Peter Price (2020-2024) - NERC ACCE DTP: The evolution and genetics of sexual dimorphism
  • Thea Rogers (2017-2021) - NERC ACCE DTP: Evolutionary dynamics of the avian sex chromosomes
  • Iulia Darolti (2015-2019) - BBSRC DTP: The evolution of sex chromosomes, and their role in sexually selected traits
Teaching activities
  • APS405 - Advanced Biological Analysis
  • APS359 - Topics in Modern Zoology
  • APS3XX - Human Genomics Lab Course
  • APS331 - L3 Dissertation APS330 - L3 Project
  • APS220 - Evolutionary Biology
  • APS6003 - MSc Science Communication
Professional activities and memberships

Prizes and Awards

  • 2019 'Rising Star in Evolution', University of Toronto
  • 2017 Jasper Loftus-Hills Young Investigator Award, American Society of Naturalists 2016 Certificate of Commendation, ZSL Scientific Awards Committee
  • 2015 Presidents’ Award for Outstanding Dissertation Paper in Evolution, Society for the Study of Evolution
  • 2012 Walter M. Fitch Prize Finalist, Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution

External activities

  • Member of Peer Review College, Natural Environment Research Council (2020 - present)
  • Associate Editor: Proceedings of the Royal Society B (2019 - present)

Internal activities

  • APS Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee (2018 - present)
  • Biological Sciences Athena Swan Action Group (2019 - present)
  • APS Decolonising the University Working Group (2019 - present)
  • Organiser of APS Annual Margaret Savigear Lectures & Departmental Seminar Series (2018 - present)