Dr Elizabeth Duncan

Lecturer in Zoology
School of Biology

Background: After completing my PhD in 2007 at Otago University (New Zealand) I did a post-doctoral fellowship examining the evolution of an early developmental pathway found in the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster and became enamoured with invertebrate biology, in particular reproduction and development. As a research fellow I continued working in these areas and was also successful in obtaining my own funding to work in the area of phenotypic plasticity. All animals respond to their environment, but some have the ability to change their physiology, biochemistry, behaviour and reproduction in response to an environmental cue; a phenomenon known as phenotypic plasticity. Using insect models including the honeybee and the pea aphid I have been working to understand how the environment interacts with the genome of animals these animals to give rise to phenotypic plasticity. In October 2015 I moved to the University of Leeds as a Lecturer to establish my own laboratory focussed on phenotypic plasticity and the evolution of eusociality.

Contact: Miall 8.06, +44(0) 113 34 37716, email address for  

You can read more about Dr Duncan's interests here:

Research Interests

Evolution of eusociality, phenotypic plasticity, invertebrate developmental biology, evolution of developmental pathways, genome architecture and evolution.

Faculty Research and Innovation

Studentship information

Undergraduate project topics:

  • Interested in doing a summer project in my lab in 2016? http://www.fbs.leeds.ac.uk/research/studentships/

Postgraduate studentship areas:

  • Environmental and molecular control of reproduction in solitary bees
  • Maternal control of early development in insects
  • Evolution of eusociality
  • How is reproduction repressed in eusocial insects?
  • http://www.findaphd.com/search/ProjectDetails.aspx?PJID=66805&LID=735
  • http://www.nercdtp.leeds.ac.uk/projects/index.php?id=256

See also:

Modules managed

BLGY3122 - Social Insect Biology

Modules taught

BLGY1303 - Tutorials for Biology and Genetics
BLGY2100 - Enhanced Study Skills for Biologists
BLGY2313/5156M - Mediterranean Ecology Field Course
BLGY3122 - Social Insect Biology
BLGY3245 - Advanced Topics in Evolution
BLGY3345 - Biology Integrated Research Projects
BLGY3395 - Advanced Research Skills and Experience
BLGY3396 - Research Literature Review
BLGY5191M - Biodiversity and Conservation MSc and MRes Summer Project
BLGY5380M - Extended Research Project


Rosemary Knapp (Primary supervisor) 80% FTE
Jens Van Eeckhoven (Primary supervisor) 50% FTE

Wu C, Jordan MD, Newcomb RD, Gemmell NJ, Bank S, Meusemann K, Dearden PK, Duncan EJ, Grosser S, Rutherford K, Gardner PP, Crowhurst RN, Steinwender B, Tooman LK, Stevens MI, Buckley TR Analysis of the genome of the New Zealand giant collembolan (Holacanthella duospinosa) sheds light on hexapod evolution BMC Genomics 18, 2017
View abstract

Chatterjee A, Lagisz M, Rodger EJ, Zhen L, Stockwell PA, Duncan EJ, Horsfield JA, Jeyakani J, Mathavan S, Ozaki Y, Nakagawa S Sex differences in DNA methylation and expression in zebrafish brain: a test of an extended‘male sex drive’ hypothesis Gene 590 307-316, 2016
View abstract

Duncan EJ, Hyink O, Dearden PK Notch signalling mediates reproductive constraint in the adult worker honeybee Nature Communications 7, 2016
View abstract

Smith LM, Parr-Brownlie LC, Duncan EJ, Black MA, Gemmell NJ, Dearden PK, Reynolds JNJ Striatal mRNA expression patterns underlying peak dose L-DOPA-induced dyskinesia in the 6-OHDA hemiparkinsonian rat. Neuroscience 324 238-251, 2016
View abstract

Benoit JB, Adelman ZN, Reinhardt K, Dolan A, Poelchau M, Jennings EC, Szuter EM, Hagan RW, Gujar H, Shukla JN, Zhu F, Mohan M, Nelson DR, Rosendale AJ, Derst C, Resnik V, Wernig S, Menegazzi P, Wegener C, Peschel N, Hendershot JM, Blenau W, Predel R, Johnston PR, Ioannidis P, Waterhouse RM, Nauen R, Schorn C, Ott MC, Maiwald F, Johnston JS, Gondhalekar AD, Scharf ME, Peterson BF, Raje KR, Hottel BA, Armisén D, Crumière AJJ, Refki PN, Santos ME, Sghaier E, Viala S, Khila A, Ahn SJ, Childers C, Lee CY, Lin H, Hughes DST, Duncan EJ, Murali SC, Qu J, Dugan S, Lee SL, Chao H, Dinh H, Han Y, Doddapaneni H, Worley KC, Muzny DM, Wheeler D, Panfilio KA, Vargas Jentzsch IM, Vargo EL, Booth W, Friedrich M, Weirauch MT, Anderson MAE, Jones JW, Mittapalli O, Zhao C, Zhou JJ, Evans JD, Attardo GM, Robertson HM, Zdobnov EM, Ribeiro JMC, Gibbs RA, Werren JH, Palli SR, Schal C, Richards S Unique features of a global human ectoparasite identified through sequencing of the bed bug genome Nature Communications 7, 2016
View abstract

Chatterjee A, Stockwell PA, Rodger EJ, Duncan EJ, Parry MF, Weeks RJ, Morison IM Genome-wide DNA methylation map of human neutrophils reveals widespread inter-individual epigenetic variation Scientific Reports 5 2-16, 2015
View abstract

Ha M, Sabherwal M, Duncan E, Stevens S, Stockwell P, McConnell M, Bekhit AE-D, Carne A In-Depth Characterization of Sheep (Ovis aries) Milk Whey Proteome and Comparison with Cow (Bos taurus) PLOS ONE 10, 2015
View abstract

Paten AM, Duncan EJ, Pain SJ, Peterson SW, Kenyon PR, Blair HT, Dearden PK Functional development of the adult ovine mammary gland-insights from gene expression profiling BMC Genomics 16, 2015
View abstract

Sadd BM, Barribeau SM, Bloch G, de Graaf DC, Dearden P, Elsik CG, Gadau J, Grimmelikhuijzen CJP, Hasselmann M, Lozier JD, Robertson HM, Smagghe G, Stolle E, Van Vaerenbergh M, Waterhouse RM, Bornberg-Bauer E, Klasberg S, Bennett AK, Camara F, Guigo R, Hoff K, Mariotti M, Munoz-Torres M, Murphy T, Santesmasses D, Amdam GV, Beckers M, Beye M, Biewer M, Bitondi MMG, Blaxter ML, Bourke AFG, Brown MJF, Buechel SD, Cameron R, Cappelle K, Carolan JC, Christiaens O, Ciborowski KL, Clarke DF, Colgan TJ, Collins DH, Cridge AG, Dalmay T, Dreier S, du Plessis L, Duncan E, Erler S, Evans J, Falcon T, Flores K, Freitas FCP, Fuchikawa T, Gempe T, Hartfelder K, Hauser F, Helbing S, Humann FC, Irvine F, Jermiin LS, Johnson CE, Johnson RM, Jones AK, Kadowaki T, Kidner JH, Koch V, Koehler A, Kraus FB, Lattorff HMG, Leask M, Lockett GA, Mallon EB, Antonio DSM, Marxer M, Meeus I, Moritz RFA, Nair A, Napflin K, Nissen I, Niu J, Nunes FMF, Oakeshott JG, Osborne A, Otte M, Pinheiro DG, Rossie N, Rueppell O, Santos CG, Schmid-Hempel R, Schmitt BD, Schulte C, Simoes ZLP, Soares MPM, Swevers L, Winnebeck EC, Wolschin F, Yu N, Zdobnov EM, Aqrawi PK, Blankenburg KP, and 45 other authors The genomes of two key bumblebee species with primitive eusocial organization Genome Biology 16, 2015
View abstract

Cridge AG, Leask MP, Duncan EJ, Dearden PK What Do Studies of Insect Polyphenisms Tell Us about Nutritionally-Triggered Epigenomic Changes and Their Consequences? Nutrients 7 1787-1797, 2015
View abstract

Chipman AD, Ferrier DEK, Brena C, Qu J, Hughes DST, Schroeder R, Torres-Oliva M, Znassi N, Jiang H, Almeida FC, Alonso CR, Apostolou Z, Aqrawi P, Arthur W, Barna JCJ, Blankenburg KP, Brites D, Capella-Gutierrez S, Coyle M, Dearden PK, Du Pasquier L, Duncan EJ, Ebert D, Eibner C, Erikson G, Evans PD, Extavour CG, Francisco L, Gabaldon T, Gillis WJ, Goodwin-Horn EA, Green JE, Griffiths-Jones S, Grimmelikhuijzen CJP, Gubbala S, Guigo R, Han Y, Hauser F, Havlak P, Hayden L, Helbing S, Holder M, Hui JHL, Hunn JP, Hunnekuhl VS, Jackson L, Javaid M, Jhangiani SN, Jiggins FM, Jones TE, Kaiser TS, Kalra D, Kenny NJ, Korchina V, Kovar CL, Kraus FB, Lapraz F, Lee SL, Lv J, Mandapat C, Manning G, Mariotti M, Mata R, Mathew T, Neumann T, Newsham I, Ngo DN, Ninova M, Okwuonu G, Ongeri F, Palmer WJ, Patil S, Patraquim P, Pham C, Pu L-L, Putman NH, Rabouille C, Ramos OM, Rhodes AC, Robertson HE, Robertson HM, Ronshaugen M, Rozas J, Saada N, Sanchez-Gracia A, Scherer SE, Schurko AM, Siggens KW, Simmons D, Stief A, Stolle E, Telford MJ, Tessmar-Raible K, Thornton R, van der Zee M, von Haeseler A, Williams JM, Willis JH, Wu Y, Zou X, and 7 other authors The First Myriapod Genome Sequence Reveals Conservative Arthropod Gene Content and Genome Organisation in the Centipede Strigamia maritima PLoS Biology 12, 2014
View abstract

Paten AM, Pain SJ, Peterson SW, Blair HT, Kenyon PR, Dearden PK, Duncan EJ Identification of reference genes for RT-qPCR in ovine mammary tissue during late pregnancy and lactation and in response to maternal nutritional programming Physiological Genomics 46 560-570, 2014
View abstract

Duncan EJ, Gluckman PD, Dearden PK Epigenetics, Plasticity, and Evolution: How do We Link Epigenetic Change to Phenotype? Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B: Molecular and Developmental Evolution 322 208-220, 2014
View abstract

Osborne AJ, Duncan EJ, Cridge AG, Dearden PK Epigenetics and the Maternal Germline In Transgenerational Epigenetics, 2014
View abstract

Duncan EJ, Johnson TK, Whisstock JC, Warr CG, Dearden PK Capturing embryonic development from metamorphosis: How did the terminal patterning signalling pathway of Drosophila evolve? Current Opinion in Insect Science 1 45-51, 2014
View abstract

Cameron RC, Duncan EJ, Dearden PK Biased gene expression in early honeybee larval development BMC Genomics 14, 2013
View abstract

Cameron RC, Duncan EJ, Dearden PK Stable reference genes for the measurement of transcript abundance during larval caste development in the honeybee Apidologie 44 357-366, 2013
View abstract

Duncan EJ, Benton MA, Dearden PK Canonical terminal patterning is an evolutionary novelty Developmental Biology 377 245-261, 2013
View abstract

Duncan EJ, Leask MP, Dearden PK The pea aphid (Acyrthosiphon pisum) genome encodes two divergent early developmental programs Developmental Biology 377 262-274, 2013
View abstract

Chua JPS, Wallace EJS, Yardley JA, Duncan EJ, Dearden PK, Summerfield TC Gene expression indicates a zone of heterocyst differentiation within the thallus of the cyanolichen Pseudocyphellaria crocata New Phytologist 196 862-872, 2012
View abstract

Duncan EJ, Dearden PK Evolution of a genomic regulatory domain: The role of gene co-option and gene duplication in the Enhancer of split complex Genome Research 20 917-928, 2010
View abstract

Shigenobu S, Bickel RD, Brisson JA, Butts T, Chang C-C, Christiaens O, Davis GK, Duncan EJ, Ferrier DEK, Iga M, Janssen R, Lin G-W, Lu H-L, McGregor AP, Miura T, Smagghe G, Smith JM, Van Der Zee M, Velarde RA, Wilson MJ, Dearden PK, Stern DL Comprehensive survey of developmental genes in the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum: frequent lineage-specific duplications and losses of developmental genes Insect Molecular Biology 19 47-62, 2010
View abstract

Gerardo NM, Altincicek B, Anselme C, Atamian H, Barribeau SM, de Vos M, Duncan EJ, Evans JD, Gabaldón T, Ghanim M, Heddi A, Kaloshian I, Latorre A, Moya A, Nakabachi A, Parker BJ, Pérez-Brocal V, Pignatelli M, Rahbé Y, Ramsey JS, Spragg CJ, Tamames J, Tamarit D, Tamborindeguy C, Vincent-Monegat C, Vilcinskas A Immunity and other defenses in pea aphids, Acyrthosiphon pisum Genome Biology 11, 2010
View abstract

Duncan EJ Genome Sequence of the Pea Aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum PLoS Biology 8 e1000313-e1000313, 2010

Dearden PK, Duncan EJ, Wilson MJ In situ hybridization of sectioned honeybee (Apis mellifera) tissues Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 4, 2009

Dearden PK, Duncan EJ, Wilson MJ The honeybee Apis mellifera Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 4, 2009

Dearden PK, Duncan EJ, Wilson MJ Whole-mount in situ hybridization of honeybee (Apis mellifera) tissues Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 4, 2009

Dearden PK, Duncan EJ, Wilson MJ Fixation and storage of honeybee (Apis mellifera) tissues Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 4, 2009

Dearden PK, Duncan EJ, Wilson MJ Immunohistochemistry on honeybee (Apis mellifera) embryos Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 4, 2009

Oearden PK, Duncan EJ, Wilson MJ RNA interference (RNAi) in honeybee (Apis mellifera) embryos Cold Spring Harbor Protocols 4, 2009

Hendrick P, Bond C, Duncan E, Hale L Clinical Reasoning in Musculoskeletal Practice: Students' Conceptualizations PHYSICAL THERAPY 89 430-442, 2009

Duncan EJ, Wilson MJ, Smith JM, Dearden PK Evolutionary origin and genomic organisation of runt-domain containing genes in arthropods BMC Genomics 9, 2008
View abstract

Duncan EJ, Dodds KG, Henry HM, Thompson MP, Phua SH Cloning, mapping and association studies of the ovine ABCG2 gene with facial eczema disease in sheep Animal Genetics 38 126-131, 2007
View abstract

Duncan EJ, Thompson MP, Phua SH Zinc protection of HepG2 cells from sporidesmin toxicity does not require de novo gene transcription Toxicology Letters 159 164-172, 2005
View abstract