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Malcom Ferguson-Smith

Comparative genomics of vertebrates using cross-species chromosome painting and gene mapping

I employ a dual laser flow cytometer to sort chromosomes from fluid suspensions to generate chromosome-specific DNA used for fluorescent in situ hybridisation (chromosome painting) and for PCR gene mapping. These molecular cytogenetic methods are used to determine phylogenetic relationships between vertebrate taxa. The work has impact on the understanding of genome structure and function. A particular interest is in the evolution of vertebrate sex chromosomes.

Key Publications

Mammalian karyotype evolution. Ferguson-Smith, M.A., Trifonov, V. (2007) Nature Reviews Genetics 8:950-962.

Extensive homology of chicken macrochromosomes in the karyotypes of Trachemys scripta elegans and Crocodilus niloticus revealed by chromosome painting despite long divergence times. Kasai, F., O'Brien, PCM., Ferguson-Smith, MA. (2012) Cytogenet. Genome Res. 136:303-307. DOI:10.1159/000338111.

Chromosome homology and evolution in mammals, birds and reptiles: hypothesis on the role of non-coding DNA, in Evolutionary Dynamics of Mammalian Karyotypes Ferguson-Smith, MA. (2012), edited by R.Stanyon and A.Graphodatsky. Cytogenet. Genome Res. 137:88-89.

Chromosomal diversity and karyotype evolution in South American macaws (Psittaciformes, Psittacidae). Furo, I de O., Kretchmer, R., O’Brien, PCM., Ferguson-Smith, MA., de Oliviera, EHC. (2015) PLoS ONE 10(6): e0130157. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0130157.

New insights into sex chromosome evolution in anole lizards (Reptilia, Dactyloidae). Giovannotti, M., Trifonov, VA., Paoletti, A., Kichigin, IG., O’Brien, PCM., Kasai, F., Giovagnoli, G., NG, BL., Ruggeri, P., Cerioni,PN., Splendiani, A., Pereira, JC., Olmo, E., Barucci, VC., Ferguson-Smith, MA. (2016) Chromosoma DOI 10.1007/s00412-016-0585-6.

 Malcolm Ferguson Smith

Professor Malcom Ferguson-Smith

Emeritus Professor of Pathology

Group members: Dr Jorge Pereira, Dr Fumio Kasai, Ana Borges.

    Plain English

    We are currently working on the evolutionary relationships of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians using chromosomal signatures based on syntenic associations defined by cross-species chromosome painting and gene mapping. Related studies are discovering new mechanisms of genetic sex determination in reptiles and amphibians.


    Cytocell Ltd, Cambridge (Industrial collaborator)