|Born||30 August 1955|
|Institutions||University College London
University of Edinburgh
Institute of Science and Technology Austria
|Alma mater||Peterhouse, Cambridge
University of East Anglia (PhD)
|Thesis||A narrow hybrid zone in the alpine grasshopper podisma pedestris (1979)|
|Doctoral advisor||Godfrey Hewitt|
|Notable awards||Bicentenary Medal of the Linnean Society (1985)
Darwin Medal (2006)
Darwin–Wallace Medal (2008)
He was educated at Peterhouse, Cambridge where he graduated with a first-class degree in Natural Sciences in 1976 and gained his PhD under Godfrey Hewitt at the University of East Anglia in 1979. After a brief spell as a lab demonstrator at the University of Cambridge, he became a Lecturer at the Department of Genetics and Biometry, University College London, in 1982. Professor Barton is best known for his work on hybrid zones, often using the toad Bombina bombina as a study organism, and for extending the mathematical machinery needed to investigate multilocus genetics, a field in which he worked in collaboration with Michael Turelli. Concrete research questions he has investigated include: the role of epistasis, the evolution of sex, speciation, and the limits on the rate of adaptation.
Barton moved to the University of Edinburgh in 1990, where he is said to have been instrumental in attracting to the university Brian and Deborah Charlesworth, with whom he had previously collaborated, thus complementing the university's strong tradition in quantitative genetics with a population genetics side and making the University of Edinburgh one of the foremost research institutions of genetics in the world. In 2008 Barton moved to Klosterneuburg (Austria) where he became the first professor at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria.
Barton was made a professor in 1994. He was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in the same year and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1995. He received a Wolfson Merit Award in 2005. In 2008 he was one of thirteen recipients of the Darwin-Wallace Medal, which is given every 50 years by the Linnean Society of London.
In 2007, Barton, along with Derek E.G. Briggs, Jonathan A. Eisen, David B. Goldstein, and Nipam H. Patel, collaborated to create Evolution, an undergraduate textbook which integrates molecular biology, genomics, and human genetics with traditional evolutionary studies.
- Nicholas H. Barton, Derek E. G. Briggs, Jonathan A. Eisen, David B. Goldstein, Nipam H. Patel "Evolution" Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; 1st edition (June 30, 2007) ISBN 0-87969-684-2
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