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Professor Neil Gemmell

Department of Anatomy; The Gemmell Lab

Professor Neil Gemmell

Neil's research blends ecology, population, conservation and evolutionary biology with recent technological spin-offs from the various genome projects.

A recurring theme in his research is that of reproduction, with past and current projects spanning mating systems and mate choice, sperm-egg interactions, sperm function, sex determination, sex allocation, and inter-sexual genomic conflict.

Neil also has interests in the evolution of the Mitochondrial genome, the evolution of microsatellite DNA, the evolution of sex determining mechanisms and the processes that lead to speciation.

For more information on Neil please see:


Neil teaches in GENE 360 Special Topics in Genetics and GENE 411 Current Topics in Genetics.

Recent publications

Zavodna, M., Grueber, C.E. and Gemmell, N.J. (2013) Parallel tagged next-generation sequencing on pooled samples - a new approach for population genetics in ecology and conservation. Plos one, 8 (4), e61471.

Abdelkrim, J., Hunt, G.R., Gray, R.D. and Gemmell, N.J. (2012) Population genetic structure and colonisation history of the tool-using New Caledonian Crow. Plos one, 7 (5), e36608.

Cui, X., Lu, Z., Kurosawa, A., Klemm, L., Bagshaw, A., Tsai, A.G., Gemmell, N., Müschen, M., Adachi, N., Hsieh, C-L. and Lieber, M.R. (2012) Both CpG methylation and aid are required for the fragility of the human Bci-2 major breakpoint region: Implications for the timing of the breaks in the t(14;18). Molecular and Cellular Biology, doi:10.1128/MCB.01436-12.

Fouquet, A., Noonan, B.P., Rodrigues, M.T., Pech, N., Gilles, A. and Gemmell, N.J. (2012) Multiple quaternary refugia in the Eastern Guiana Shield revealed by comparative phylogeography of 12 frog species. Systematic Biology, 61, 461-489.

Johnson, S.L. and Gemmell, N.J. (2012) Are old males still good males and can females tell the difference? Bioessays, 3, 609-619.

Lindquist, D., Gemmell, N.J. and Würsig, B. (2012) Behavioural responses of dusky dolphone (Lagenorhynchus obscurus) groups to tour vessels off Kaikoura, New Zealand. Plos one, 7 (7), e41969.

Sawaya, S.M., Lennon, D., Buschiazzo, E., Gemmell, N. and Minin, V.N. (2012) Measuring microsatellite conservation in mammalian evolution with a phylogenetic birth-death model. Genome Biology and Evolution, 4 (6), 636-647.

Wolff, J.N. and Gemmell, N.J. (2012) Mitochondria, maternal inheritance, and asymmetric fitness: Why males die younger. Bioessays, doi:10.1002/bies.201200141.

Buschiazzo, E., Beck, J. and Gemmell, N.J. (2011) Design and implementation of degenerate microsatellite primers for the mammalian clade. Plos ONE, 6 (12), e0029582.

Goldstien, S.J., Dupont, L., Viard, F., Hallas, P.J., Nishikawa, T., Schiel, D.R. and Gemmell, N.J. (2011) Global phylogeography of the widely introduced North West Pacific ascidian Styela clava. PLoS one, 6 (2), e16755.

Horn, T., Robertson, B.C., Eason, D.K., Elliott, G.P. and Gemmell, N.J. (2011) Inheritance of telomere length in a bird. PLoS ONE, 6 (2), e17199.

Osborne, A.J., Shultz, J.K. Kennedy, M.A., Slate, J. and Gemmell, N.J. (2011) Development of a predicted physical map of microsatellite locus positions for pinnipeds, with wider applicability to the Carnivora. Molecular Ecology Resources, 11, 503-513.

Will, M., Hale, M.L., Schiel, D.R. and Gemmell, N.J. (2011) Low to moderate levels of genetic differentiation detected across the distribution of the New Zealand abalone, Haliotis iris. Marine Biology, 158, 1417-1429.

Wolff, J.N., White, D.J., Woodhams, M., White, H. and Gemmell, N.J. (2011) The strength and timing of the mitochondrial bottleneck in salmon suggests a conserved mechanism in vertebrates. PLoS one, 6 (5), e20522.

Abdelkrim, J., Byrom, A.E. and Gemmell, N.J. (2010) Fine-scale genetic structure of mainland invasive Rattus rattus populations: implications for restoration of forested conservation areas in New Zealand. Conservation Genetics, 11, 1953-1964.

Buschiazzo, E. and Gemmell, N.J. (2010) Conservation of human microsatellites across 450 million years of evolution. Genome Biology and Evolution, 2, 153-165.

Clay, C., Gleeson, D., Howitt, R., Lawrence, H., Abdelkrim, J. and Gemmell, N. (2010) Characterisation of microsatellite markers for the primitive New Zealand frog, Leiopelma hochstetteri. Conservation Genetics Resources, 2, 301-303.

Fouquet, A., Ficetola, G.F., Haigh, A. and Gemmell, N. (2010) Using ecological niche modelling to infer past, present and future environmental suitability for Leiopelma hochstetteri, an endangered New Zealand native frog. Biological Conservation, 143, 1375-1384.

Fouquet, A., Green D.M., Waldman, B., Bowsher, J.H., McBride, K.P. and Gemmell, N.J. (2010) Phylogeography of Leiopelma hochstetteri reveals strong genetic structure and suggests new conservation priorities. Conservation Genetics, 11, 907-919.

Goldstien, S.J., Schiel, D.R. and Gemmell, N.J. (2010) Regional connectivity and coastal expansion: differentiating pre-border and post-border vectors for the invasive tunicate Styela clava. Molecular Ecology, 19, 874-885.

Horn, T., Robertson, B.C. and Gemmell, N.J. (2010) The use of telomere length in ecology and evolutionary biology. Heredity, 105, 497-506.

Negro, S.S., Caudron, A.K., Dubois, M., Delahaut, P. and Gemmell, N.J. (2010) Correlation between male social status, testosterone levels, and parasitism in a dimorphic polygynous mammal. PLoS One, 5 (9), e12507.

Steeves, T.E., Maloney, R.F., Hale, M.L., Tylianakis, J.M. and Gemmell, N.J. (2010) Genetic analyses reveal hybridization but no hybrid swam in one of the world’s rarest birds. Molecular Ecology, 19, 5090-5100.

Abdelkrim, J., Robertson, B.C., Stanton, J.A.L. and Gemmell, N.J. (2009) Fast, cost-effective development of species-specific microsatellite markers by genomic sequencing. BioTechniques, 46 (3), 185-191.

Buschiazzo, E. and Gemmell, N.J. (2009) Evolutionary and phylogenetic significance of platypus microsatellites conserved in mammalian and other vertebrate genomes. Australian Journal of Zoology, 57, 175-184.

Caudron, A.K., Negro, S.S., Fowler, M., Boren, L., Poncin, P., Robertson, B.C. and Gemmell, N.J. (2009) Alternative mating tactics in the New Zealand fur seal (Arctocephalus forsteri): when non-territorial males are successful too. Australian Journal of Zoology, 57, 409-421.

Goldstien, S.J., Gemmell, N.J. and Schiel, D.R. (2009) Colonisation and connectivity by intertidal limpets among New Zealand, Chatham and Sub-Antarctic Islands. I. genetic connections. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 388, 111-119.

Rosengrave, P., Montgomerie, R., Metcalf, V.M., McBride, K. and Gemmell, N.J. (2009) Sperm traits in Chinook salmon depend upon activation medium: implications for studies of sperm competition in fishes. Canadian Journal of Zoology, 87, 920-927.

Rosengrave, P., Taylor, H., Montgomerie, R., Metcalf, V., McBridge, K. and Gemmell, N.J. (2009) Chemical composition of seminal and ovarian fluids of chinook salmon (Oncorphynchus tshawytscha) and their effects on sperm motility traits. Comparative Biochemisry and Physiology Part A, 152, 123-129.

Vanpé, C., Buschiazzo, E., Abdelkrim, J., Morrow, G., Nicol, S.C. and Gemmell, N.J. (2009) Development of microsatellite markers fro the short-beaked echidna using three different approaches. Australian Journal of Zoology, 57, 219-224.

White, D.J. and Gemmell, N.J. (2009) Can indirect tests detect a known recombination event in human mtDNA? Molecular Biology and Evolution, 26, 1435-1439.