Brian Charlesworth

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Brian Charlesworth : biography

29 April 1945 –

Professor Brian Charlesworth FRS (born 29 April 1945) is a British evolutionary biologist at the University of Edinburgh, Brian Charlesworth homepage and editor of Biology Letters. Since 1997, he has been Royal Society Research Professor at the Institute of Evolutionary Biology (IEB), University of Edinburgh.


Charlesworth gained a Bachelor of Arts degree in natural sciences from Queens’ College Cambridge, followed by a PhD in genetics from Cambridge in 1969. Postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago, University of Liverpool 1971-1974, University of Sussex under John Maynard Smith 1974-82. He returned to Chicago, to be professor of ecology and evolution 1985-97. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1991, and won its Darwin Medal in 2000. He won the 2006 Frink Medal, of the Zoological Society of London and in 2010 was awarded the Darwin-Wallace Medal of the Linnean Society.

He is married to Deborah Charlesworth, who is also a biology professor and a Fellow of the Royal Society.


Charlesworth has worked extensively on understanding sequence evolution, using the fruit fly as a model species, and has also contributed theoretical work on aging, the evolution of recombination and the evolution of sex chromosomes.

In April 2010, the journal Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B was dedicated to honour Brian’s contribution to the field of population genetics