Professor Peter Holland

Linacre Professor of Zoology; Fellow of Merton College


Professor Holland is interested in how the evolution of animal diversity can be explained through evolution of the genome. Because the body plan of animals is generated through embryonic development, the evolution of genes that control development is of particular interest. In recent years his team have been using whole genome sequence data to analyse the evolution of homeobox genes, particularly in relation to gene and genome duplication. They are currently studying the evolution of homeobox genes and their functions in teleost fish, insects and mammals. 

He is a Governor, Council Member and Research Committee Chair of the Marine Biological Association of the UK, and a specialist advisor on homeobox gene names for the HUGO Gene Nomenclature Committee.


  • Evolution of the animal kingdom
  • Homeobox genes
  • Genome evolution
  • Amphioxus and other marine invertebrates