Skip to main content Skip to navigation

Professor Robin Allaby

Job Title
Life Sciences
Ext 75059
Research Interests

Key interest areas: plant evolutionary genetics; evolution of plant domestication; molecular archaeobotany; molecular anthropology; phylogenomics; software design for population dynamics and molecular evolution.

In my group we are interested in the evolutionary dynamics associated with the plant domestication process on several levels of organization: the gene, the genome, the population and the selective environment in which the population exists. We utilize genetic information directly from both archaeological and modern samples, and develop bioinformatic approaches for high throughput analysis. We also work closely with the archaeology community. Our empirical work is balanced by a theoretical approach, through computational biology, in which we study the complex evolutionary system which gives rise to the patterns of genetic diversity we observe. Using this in vitro and in silico two-pronged approach we wish to answer questions about where crops come from, and how plants such as crops become locally adapted to environmental conditions. Such information may help us in the future to produce crops which are better adapted to a wider range of conditions: the key to a sustainable future is to understand the past.


PhD, University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology, 1996
BSc Hons, King's College London, 1991

Fellow of the Linnean Society
Fellow of the Society of Biologists
Associate Editor, PLosOne Journal
Associate Editor, Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences

Title Funder Award start Award end
Central England NERC Training Alliance 2 (CENTA2) Doctoral Training Programme NERC 01 Oct 2019 30 Sep 2027
Tracking the altitudinal adaptation of Andean maize using archaeogenomics NERC 04 Jul 2022 03 Jul 2025
LinnéSys: Systematics Research Fund for Annabelle De Vries Linnean Society, The 01 Jul 2021 30 Jun 2022
Europe's Lost Frontiers: exploring climate change, settlement and colonisation of the submerged landscapes of the North Sea basin using ancient DNA, seismic mapping and complex systems modelling European Research Council (ERC) 01 Dec 2015 30 Nov 2021
MICROWINE - Microbial metagenomics and the modern wine industry (Marie Curie ITN) European Commission 01 Jul 2015 30 Jun 2018
Wine through the nubian ages National Geographic Society 01 Dec 2017 31 Mar 2018
Bioengineering Brazilian indigenous crop diversity into peanuts for a changing climate Royal Academy of Engineering 15 Jan 2016 31 Aug 2017
Zika virus ? harnessing the powers of molecular and device engineering to counter a global threat EPSRC 01 Jun 2016 31 Mar 2017
An archaeogenomic survey of maize biodiversity and evolution in South America STFC 15 Sep 2016 14 Mar 2017
Archaeogenomics of Sorghum domestication and adaptation NERC 06 Jan 2014 05 Jan 2017
Strategic Environmental Science Capital Call NERC 01 Jan 2014 30 Jun 2014
Collaboration on a study to examine a small number of genetic loci in samples of banana (Musa spp.), taro (Colocasia esculenta) and yam (Dioscorea spp.) to establish population affiliations Monash University 02 Jan 2012 31 Dec 2012
Elucidating the genetic expectations of protracted crop domestication Leverhulme Trust 01 Oct 2009 30 Sep 2012
Was Barley Locally Adapted to Ancient Nubia NERC 05 Jan 2009 04 Jan 2012
SEALINKS - Tracing taro and other crop movements from island SE Asia to Africa EU 01 Jun 2010 30 Nov 2011
Agricultural Origins in Southwest Asia: The pace of transition University of Manchester 01 Oct 2007 30 Sep 2010
IF0174 Identification of candidate genes for resource-use-efficiency by genome-wide association mapping in Arabidopsis thaliana Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 01 Oct 2008 31 Mar 2009
New Investigator Award - Origins and evolution of ancient Egyptian cotton tracked by paleogenomics NERC 01 Aug 2007 31 Jul 2008


Bat Genotyping Service We have recently started investigating bats in the UK through an ecological forensics service which ecologists can make use of to identify bat species on their surveys.