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Professor Kenneth Wolfe


Kenneth Wolfe

Full Professor Of Genomic Evolution
School of Medicine
01 716 6712
University College Dublin, School of Medicine, Conway Institute Belfield Dublin 4


Ken Wolfe studies the evolution of eukaryotic genomes and chromosome organisation. He is best known for his discovery that the genome of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae underwent complete duplication about 100 million years ago, an event we now know to be the result of hybridization between two divergent parental species. This finding reshaped our understanding both of yeast biology, and of mechanisms of genome evolution in eukaryotes. His subsequent discoveries of similar ancient genome duplications in the human lineage, and in almost all families of flowering plants, led to the recognition that whole-genome duplication is a widespread evolutionary mechanism. Current research interests are focused on the evolution of yeast chromosome structure, and the evolutionary origin of the cell-type switching process. This work has applications in the development of yeasts for biotechnology, and in understanding mechanisms of chromosome rearrangement in disease. Wolfe is a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Member of the Royal Irish Academy, and a Member of EMBO. He is a former president of the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution. He has held two European Research Council Advanced Grants.


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European Research Council
1 Oct 2018 - 30 Sep 2023