The University of Sheffield
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences

Professor Roger Butlin

Prof Roger Butlin

Tel: +44 (0)114 222 0097
Fax: +44 (0)114 222 0002

email :


1973-1976 Jesus College, Cambridge BA Natural Sciences (Genetics)
1979-1982 Ph.D. Department of Genetics, University of Nottingham
1982-1986 Senior Research Associate, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia.
1987-1992 Royal Society 1983 University Research Fellow, School of Pure and Applied Biology, University of Wales College of Cardiff
1992-1994 Lecturer, Department of Genetics, The University of Leeds
1994-1999 Reader in Evolutionary Biology, School of Biology, The University of Leeds
1999-2004 Professor of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biology, The University of Leeds

Key Research Interests

My research is concerned primarily with the origin of barriers to gene exchange, especially the evolutionary genetics of reproductive isolation. I have used insect acoustic and chemical signals as model systems to investigate the controversial process of reinforcement, particularly in parapatry, and questions such as the inheritance of signal characters and the form of female preferences. I am currently working with hybrid zones in grasshoppers of the genus Chorthippus, and collaborating in projects on speciation in winkles (Littorina), and signal and response evolution in the Drosophila virilis group. Another area of research concerns the evolution of asexual reproduction using ostracods as models. I am interested in evolution at range margins and its implications for conservation genetics. Current projects use Arabidopsis lyrata and other models. I collaborate in studies of population structure and sexual segregation in bats, behaviour of zebrafish, ecology and evolution of mosquitoes and beetle phylogeography.


My teaching is concentrated around my research specialization in evolutionary biology. At Level 2, I teach the APS220 Evolution module along with Rhonda Snook (who is the Module Coordinator). My part of the course focuses on the genetic basis of evolutionary change and the forces that drive change. The course underwent a major update in the 2010-11 session. At Level 3, I coordinate a course, APS344 Topics in Evolutionary Genetics, which is based around student-led discussion sessions rather than conventional lectures. I run one of three topics, on the genetics of speciation, using recent, high-profile papers to bring students right up to date with current controversies.

I also coordinate the APS336 Peak District Field Course. This is a non-residential course based mainly on the Longshaw Estate and focusing on developing understanding of scientific method through student-led projects.

Recent Level 4 MBiolSci students in my group have worked on speciation-related questions in the rocky-shore gastropod, Littorina, or grasshoppers (either Chorthippus in Europe or Vandiemenella in Australia). They have used morphometric and behavioural approaches as well as molecular genetic techniques.

Professional Activities

Visiting Professor of Evolutionary Biology, The University of Leeds

Honorary Research Fellow, Department of Entomology,
The Natural History Museum (2002-05)

Honorary Scientific Fellow, Zoological Society of London (2003-06)

Honarary Scientific Fellow, Royal Belgian Institute for Natural Sciences

Associate Editor for Molecular Ecology and Editorial Board member for Insect Molecular Biology

NERC Peer Review College member (2004-07)

Current Research Group

Dr Raj Whitlock
UK PopNet component project: Genetic variation in the landscape (with Terry Burke)

email :

Dr Nathan Haigh
Plant responses to abiotic stress at range margins: mechanisms and limits to adaptation (with Bill Kunin, Leeds, Terry Burke, Jon Slate, Paul Quick and Ian Woodward)

email :

Dr Dunja Lamatsch, Dr Ruzica Bruvo and Ms Dorota Paczesniak
From sex to asex: a case study on interactions between sexual and asexual reproduction (coordinated by Koen Martens, Brussels),,

Dr Carole Smadja (Marie Curie Fellow)
Molecular geneitcs of host specilaisation in pea aphids

email :

Dr Juan Galindo
Molecular approaches to adaptation in Littorina (part of MAERO project led by Jon Slate)

email :

David Wengraf
A genomic appraoch to speciation in Drosphila

email :

Graduate Students

Amy Llewellyn
Genetics of sterility in a grasshopper hybrid zone

email :

Lu Jing
Odorant and gustatory receptor genes and speciation in Drosphila

email :

Saskia Bode
Phylogeography of sexual and asexual lineages in Eucypris virens

email :

Katie Frith
Y chromosome markers and male dispersal in Daubenton's bat (with John Altringham, Leeds)

email :

Jamie Hutchison
Marker-based analysis of male sterility in Chorthippus

email :

Based in Leeds: Camille Jan and Ruth Angel (with John Altringham), and Catherine Sinfield (with John Grahame)

Recent Publications (2001 to date)

Whitlock, R., Hipperson, H., Mannarelli, M., Butlin, R. K. & Burke, T. A. An objective, rapid and reproducible method for genotyping AFLP fingerprints that minimises genotyping error. Molecular Ecology Notes. In press.

Kawakami, T., Butlin, R. K., Adams, M., Saint, K. M., Paull, D. J., and Cooper, S. J.B. Differential gene flow of mitochondrial and nuclear DNA markers among chromosomal races of Australian morabine grasshoppers (Vandiemenella, viatica species group). Molecular Ecology. In press.

Drosophila 12 Genomes Consortium. 2007. Evolution of genes and genomes on the Drosophila phylogeny. Nature 450: 203-218.

Kawakami T, Butlin RK, Paull DJ and Cooper SJB. 2007. Polymorphic microsatellite markers for chromosomal races of Australian morabine grasshoppers (Vandiemenella, viatica species group). Molecular Ecology Notes 7:1181-4.

Pope LC, Butlin RK, Wilson GJ, Woodroffe R, Erven K, Conyers CM, Franklin T, Delahay RJ, Cheeseman CL, Burke TA. Genetic evidence that culling increases badger movement: implications for the spread of bovine TB. Molecular Ecology 16:4919-4929.

Walton C, Somboon P, Harbach RE, Zhang S, Weerasinghe I, O´Loughlin SM, Phompida S, Sochanta T, Tun-Lin W, Chen B and Butlin RK. 2007. Molecular identification of mosquito species in the Anopheles annularis group in southern Asia. Infection, genetics and evolution 7: 93-102.

Mirol PM, Schäfer MA, Orsini L, Routtu J, Schlötterer C, Hoikkala A and Butlin RK. 2007. Phylogeographic patterns in Drosophila montana. Molecular Ecology 16: 1085-1097.

Walton C, Somboon P, Harbach RE, Zhang S, Weerasinghe I, O'Loughlin SM, Phompida S, Sochantha T, Tun-Lin W, Chen B, Butlin RK. 2007. Molecular identification of mosquito species in the Anopheles annularis group in southern Asia. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 21: 30-35

Routtu J, Mazzi M, van der Linde K, Mirol P, Butlin RK and Hoikkala A. 2007. The extent of variation in male song, wing and genital characters among allopatric Drosophila Montana populations. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 20: 1591-1601.

Vanwambeke SO, Lambin EF, Eichhorn M, Flasse S, Harbach RE, Oskam L, Somboon P, van Beers S, van Benthem BHB, Walton C and Butlin RK. Impact of land-use change on dengue and malaria in northern Thailand. EcoHealth 4: 37-51.

Klappert K, Butlin RK and Reinhold K. 2007. The attractiveness fragment—AFLP analysis of local adaptation and sexual selection in a caeliferan grasshopper, Chorthippus biguttulus. Naturwissenschaften 94: 667-674.

Vanwambeke SO, Somboon P, Harbach RE, Isenstadt M, Lambin EF, Walton C and Butlin RK. 2007. Landscape and land-cover factors influence the presence of Aedes and Anopheles larvae. Journal of Medical Entomology 44: 133-144.

Wyatt PMW, Pitts CS and Butlin RK. 2006. A molecular approach to detect hybridisation between common bream (Abramis brama), roach (Rutilus rutilus) and rudd (Scardinius erythrophthalmus). Journal of Fish Biology 69 (Suppl. A): 52-71.

Butlin RK. 2006. Comment on `Transitions to asexuality result in excess amino acid substitutions´. Science 313:1339.

Wright D, Butlin RK and Carlborg Ö. 2006. Epistatic regulation of behavioural and morphological traits in the zebrafish (Danio rerio). Behavior Genetics 36: 914-922.

Wright, D, Krause, J and Butlin RK. 2006. QTL analysis of behavioural and morphological differentiation between wild and laboratory zebrafish (Danio rerio). Behavior Genetics 36:271-284. doi: 10.1007/s10519-005-9029-4

Bridle JR, Saldamando CI, Koning W and Butlin RK. 2006. Assortative preferences and discrimination by females against hybrid male song in the grasshoppers Chorthippus brunneus and Chorthippus Jacobsi (Orthoptera: Acrididae). Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 19:1248-1256. doi: 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2006.01080.x

Smadja, C and Butlin RK. 2006. A new role for reinforcement. Heredity 96: 422-423, doi: 10.1038/sj.hdy.6800826 (& featured in Heredity podcast, May 2006)

Chen B, Butlin RK, Pedro PM, Wang XZ and Harbach RE. 2006. Molecular variation, systematics and distribution of the Anopheles fluviatilis complex in southern Asia. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 20: 33-43.

Grahame JW, Wilding CS and Butlin RK. 2006. Adaptation to a steep environmental gradient and an associated barrier to gene exchange in Littorina saxatilis. Evolution 60:268-278.

Harbach RE, Parkin E, Chen B, and Butlin RK. 2006. Anopheles (Cellia) minimus Theobald (Diptera: Culicidae): Neotype designation, characterization and systematics. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 108: 198-209.

Rivers NM, Butlin RK and Altringham JD. 2006. Autumn swarming behaviour of Natterer´s bats in the UK: population size, catchment area and dispersal. Biological Conservation 127: 215-226.

Rivers NM, Butlin RK and Altringham JD. 2005. Genetic population structure of Natterer´s bats explained by mating at swarming sites and philopatry. Molecular Ecology 14:4299-4312.

Martens, K., G. Rossetti, R.K. Butlin & I. Schön. 2005. Molecular and morphological phylogeny of the ancient asexual Darwinulidae (Crustacea, Ostracoda). Hydrobiologia 538: 153-165.

Senior P, Butlin RK and Altringham JD. 2005. Sex and segregation in temperate bats. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B. 272: 2467-2473.

Shuker DM, Underwood K, King TM and Butlin RK. 2005. Patterns of male sterility in a grasshopper hybrid zone imply accumulation of hybrid incompatibilities without selection. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, Series B. 272: 2491-2497.

Shuker, D.M., King, T.M., Bella, J.L. and Butlin, R.K. 2005. The genetic basis of speciation in a grasshopper hybrid zone. In: Fellowes, M., Holloway, G. and Rolff, J. (eds) Insect Evolutionary Ecology, pp 427-454, CABI Publishing.

Champion de Crespigny, FE, Butlin, RK and Wedell N. 2005. Can cytoplasmic incompatibility inducing Wolbachia promote the evolution of mate preferences? Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18:967-977.

Butlin RK and Roper C. 2005. Microarrays and species origins. Nature 437:199-200. (News and Views)

Butlin RK and Tregenza T. 2005. The way the world might be. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18:1205-1208. (Invited commentary)

Butlin, R. K. 2005. Recombination and speciation. Molecular Ecology 14:2621-2635. (Invited review)

Butlin, RK. (2005). Mystery of mysteries no longer? Evolution 59:243-245.

Saldamando C. I., H. Tatsuta and R. K. Butlin. (2005). Hybrids between Chorthippus brunneus and C. jacobsi (Orthoptera: Acrididae) do not show endogenous postzygotic isolation. Biol. J. Linn. Soc.. 84: 195-203

Saldamando C. I., S. Miyaguchi, H. Tatsuta, H. Kishino, J. R. Bridle and R. K. Butlin. 2005. Inheritance of song and stridulatory peg number divergence between Chorthippus brunneus and C. jacobsi, two naturally hybridising grasshopper species (Orthoptera: Acrididae). Journal of Evolutionary Biology 18:703-712.

Parkin, EJ and Butlin, RK. (2004). Within- and between-individual sequence variation among ITS1 copies in the meadow grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus indicates frequent intrachromosomal gene conversion. Molecular Biology and Evolution 21: 1595-1601.

Bush, GL and Butlin, RK. (2004). Sympatric speciation in insects: an overview. In: Adaptive Speciation, U. Dieckmann, M. Doebeli, H. Metz, D. Tautz (Eds.), pp. 229-248. Cambridge University Press.

Bridle, JR, Pedro, PM and Butlin, RK. (2004). Habitat fragmentation and biodiversity: testing for the evolutionary effects of refugia. Evolution 58: 1394-1396.

Chen B, Harbach RE and Butlin RK. (2004). Genetic variation and population structure of the mosquito Anopheles jeyporiensis in southern China. Molecular Ecology 13: 3051-3056.

Bailey R., Thomas, C.D. and Butlin, R.K. (2004). Premating barriers to gene exchange and their implications for the structure of a mosaic hybrid zone between Chorthippus brunneus and C. jacobsi (Orthoptera : Acrididae). Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 17: 108-119.

Butlin, RK. (2003) Chorthippus parallelus. In Atlas des orthoptères et des mantides de France, J-F Voisin (ed). Patrimoines Naturels, 60. Muséum National d´Histoire Naturelle, Paris.

Wright, D, Rimmer, LB, Pritchard, VL, Krause, J and Butlin, RK. (2003) Inter- and intra-population variation in shoaling and boldness in the zebrafish (Danio rerio). Naturwissenschaften 90: 374-377.

Hey, J, Waples, RS, Arnold, ML, Butlin, RK and Harrison, RG. (2003) Understanding and confronting species uncertainty in biology and conservation. Trends Ecol. Evol. 18:597-603..

Butlin, RK, Bridle, JR & Kawata, M. (2003) Genetics and the boundaries of species´ distributions. In: Macroecology: Concepts and Consequences, ed. T. Blackburn and K.J. Gaston. Pp. 274-295. Blackwell Science, Oxford.

Schön, I, Martens, K, Van Doninck, K and Butlin, RK. (2003) Evolution in the slow lane - molecular rates of evolution in asexual ostracods (Crustacea, Ostracoda). Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 79:93-100.

Chen, B, Butlin, RK and Harbach, RE. (2003) Molecular phylogenetics of the Oriental members of the Myzomyia Series of Anopheles subgenus Cellia (Diptera: Culicidae) inferred from nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences. Systematic Entomology 28:57-69.

Buckley, SH, Tregenza, T and Butlin RK. (2003) Transitions in cuticular composition across a hybrid zone – historical accident or environmental adaptation? Biol. J. Linn. Soc. 78:193-201.

Bailey, RI, Lineham, ME, Thomas, CD and Butlin, RK. (2003) Measuring dispersal and detecting departures from a random walk model in a grasshopper hybrid zone. Ecological Entomology 28:129-138.

Tregenza, T, Pritchard, VL and Butlin, RK. (2002) The origin of postmating isolation: testing hypotheses in the grasshopper Chorthippus parallelus. Population Ecology 44:137-144..

Taneyhill, D.E., Mallet, J.B., Wynne, I.R., Burke, A.S., Pullin, A.S., Wilson, R.J., Butlin, R.K., Hatcher, M.J., Shorrocks, B. & Thomas, C.D. (2002). Estimating gene flow in endemic butterfly races: the effect of metapopulation dynamics. In: Genes in the Environment (R.Hails, J.Beringer & H.C.J.Godfray, eds). pp. 3-25. Blackwell Science, Oxford.

Bin Chen, Harbach RE and Butlin RK. (2002) Molecular and morphological study on the Anopheles minimus group of mosquitoes in southern China: taxonomic review, distribution and malaria vector status. Medical and Veterinary Entomology 16:253-256.

Bridle JR, Vass-de-Zomba J and Butlin RK.(2002) Fine-scale ecological and genetic variation in a Chorthippus grasshopper hybrid zone. Ecological Entomology 27: 499-504.

Bridle JR and Butlin RK. (2002) Mating signal variation and bimodality in a mosaic hybrid zone between Chorthippus grasshopper species. Evolution 56:1184-1198.

Bridle, JR, De la Torre, J, Bella, JL, Butlin, RK, Gosalvez, J. (2002). Low levels of chromosomal differentiation between the grasshoppers Chorthippus brunneus and Chorthippus jacobsi in northern Spain. Genetica 114: 121-127.

Butlin R K. (2002) The costs and benefits of sex: new insights from old asexual lineages. Nature Reviews Genetics 3:311-317.

Tatsuta H. and Butlin R. K. (2001) Amplified fragment length polymorphism for the analysis of genetic structure in grasshopper populations. Journal of Orthoptera Research, 10: 203-207.

Pritchard, VL, Lawrence, J, Butlin, RK and Krause, J. (2001). Shoal choice in zebrafish, Danio rerio: the influence of shoal size and activity. Animal Behaviour 62: 1085-1088.

Bridle, JR, Baird, SJE and Butlin, RK. (2001) Spatial structure and habitat variation in a grasshopper hybrid zone. Evolution 55:1832-1843.

Wilding, CS, Butlin, RK, and Grahame, JW. (2001) Differential gene exchange between parapatric morphs of Littorina saxatilis detected using AFLP markers. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 14:611-619.

Panhuis, TM, Butlin, RK, Zuk, M and Tregenza, T. (2001) Sexual selection and speciation. Trends Ecol. Evol. 16: 364-371.

Butlin, RK and Ritchie, MG. (2001) Searching for speciation genes. Nature 412:31-32.

Ritchie, MG and Butlin, RK (2001) (eds). Phylogeography, hybridization and speciation. Molecular Ecology 10 (3) Special Issue.

Bridle, JR, Garn, A-K, Monk, KA and Butlin, RK. (2001) Speciation in Chitaura grasshoppers (Acrididae: Oxyinae) on the island of Sulawesi: colour patterns, morphology and contact zones. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 72: 373-390.

Walton, C, Handley, JM, Collins, FH, Baimai, V, Harbach, RE, Looareesuwan, S. and Butlin, RK. (2001) Genetic population structure and introgression in Anopheles dirus mosquitoes in Southeast Asia. Molecular Ecology 10: 569-580.

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