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Professor Neil Gemmell

Professor Neil GemmellBSc (Hons), PhD

Professor Neil Gemmell is the AgResearch Chair in Reproduction and Genomics at the University of Otago. He is also Director of the associated Centre for Reproduction and Genomics, based at Invermay. He leads the Evolutionary Genomics Group, which applies recent advances in genomic technology to the fields of ecology, population, conservation and evolutionary biology.

Neil's specific research interests lie in three reproduction-based areas: the analysis of mating systems through molecular approaches; asymmetric fitness effects of mtDNA mutations, explored through competitive fertilization experiments and theoretical modeling; and the evolution of microsatellites, using bioinformatics and comparative molecular genetics.

Neil obtained an Honours degree in Biochemistry at Victoria University of Wellington, before completing a PhD at Australia's La Trobe University, researching population and evolutionary genetics in platypus. He undertook postdoctoral research at Cambridge University and later Leicester University. In 1998, he returned to New Zealand to take up at position lecturing in genetics at the University of Canterbury. Neil was appointed to his current role in 2008.


Bhattarai, U. R., Poulin, R., Gemmell, N. J., & Dowle, E. (2024). Genome assembly and annotation of the mermithid nematode Mermis nigrescens. Genes Genomes Genetics. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1093/g3journal/jkae023

Urban, L., Miller, A. K., Eason, D., Vercoe, D., Shaffer, M., Wilkinson, S. P., Jeunen, G.-J., Gemmell, N. J., & Digby, A. (2023). Non-invasive real-time genomic monitoring of the critically endangered kākāpō. eLIFE, 12, RP84553. doi: 10.7554/eLife.84553

Jeunen, G.-J., Lamare, M., Cummings, V., Treece, J., Ferreira, S., Massuger, J., … Gemmell, N. (2023). Unveiling the hidden diversity of marine eukaryotes in the Ross Sea: A comparative analysis of seawater and sponge eDNA surveys. Environmental DNA. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/edn3.500

Miller, A., Baker, C., Brosnahan, C., Dowle, E., Gemmell, N., Geoghegan, J., … Pande, A. (2023). Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) samples help to investigate potential wildlife disease. Proceedings of the Genetics Otago (GO) Annual Symposium & Workshops. Retrieved from

Hawkes, M. K. N., Dearden, P. K., Gemmell, N. J., & Kenny, N. J. (2023). Evaluating the impacts of climate change at a cellular resolution through comparative single cell sequencing of kuku (green-lipped mussels). Proceedings of the Genetics Otago (GO) Annual Symposium & Workshops. Retrieved from

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