Lab for Evo Devo





Marsden Fund


Betta Bees







Evolution and Development

We study how the developmental processes that make an animal from an embryo change over evolutionary time to give different forms of animal. The laboratory studies five aspects of this; Evolution of the molecular control of segmentation in insects, the developmental genetics of polyphenisms in the Honeybee (Apis mellifera) and Pea Aphid (Acrythosiphon pisum), the evolution of insect axis formation, the molecular control of development in a Rotifer (Brachionus plicatilis), and the molecular basis of life history tradeoffs.

We are also carry out research to improve bee breeding and bee health in collaboration with our partners Betta Bees Research Ltd.

On this website you can find information about people in the lab, projects in the lab, view publications from the lab, browse protocols used in the lab, look for jobs and studentships and contact us. Just press the buttons in the side bar.

The Laboratory for Development and Evolution is a member of Genetics Otago and the Biochemistry Department, University of Otago.

PhD Projects Available

Listen to an interview on BBC Radio 4 about our lastest paper - Aug 2016.


Where are we?

The Laboratory for Evolution and Development is sited in the Biochemistry Department, Otago School of Medical Sciences, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Dunedin is a city in the south of New Zealand known for its wildlife, weather and University.

Contact Details

You can contact us in the following ways:

By email at

By phone by dialing +64 03 479 7832

Or by post at:

The Laboratory for Evolution and Development, Biochemistry Department, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand.


Recent Papers

Duncan, E.J, Hyink, O, Dearden, P.K (2016) Notch Signalling Mediates Reproductive Constraint in the Adult Worker Honeybee. Nature Communications 7,12427 doi:10.1038/ncomms

Smith, L.M, Parr-Brownlie, J.C, Duncan, E.J, Black, M.A, Gemmell, N.J, Dearden, P.K, Reynolds, J.N.J (2016) Striatal mRNA expression patterns underlying peak dose L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in the 6-OHDA hemiparkinsonian rat. Neuroscience, 324:238-51.

Cridge, A.C., Dearden, P.K., Brownfield, L. (2016) Convergent occurrence of the developmental hourglass in plant and animal embryogenesis. Annals of Botany