Dr Nicholas Mundy

University position


Dr Nicholas Mundy is pleased to consider applications from prospective PhD students.


Department of Zoology



Home page

http://www.zoo.cam.ac.uk/zoostaf... (personal home page)

Research Themes

Cognitive and Behavioural Neuroscience

Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


We study the evolutionary genetics of brain size and sensory systems in primates. In particular, we are interested in the evolution and selection of colour vision polymorphisms in New World monkeys and lemurs, the evolution of vomeronasal receptor diversity, and the genetics of brain size evolution across primates

A tassel-eared marmoset (Callithrix humeralifer), one of many species of New World monkeys that is polymorphic for colour vision
A tassel-eared marmoset (Callithrix humeralifer), one of many species of New World monkeys that is polymorphic for colour vision
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Research Focus



brain size




Clinical conditions

No direct clinical relevance


Molecular genetics



Brenda Bradley Web: http://www.yale.edu/anthro/...

Ute Radespiel Web: http://www.tiho-hannover.de/klinike...

Associated News Items

    Key publications

    Caine NG, Mundy NI (2000), “Demonstration of a foraging advantage for trichromatic marmosets (Callithrix geoffroyi) dependent on food colour” Proc Roy Soc B 267:439-444



    Montgomery SH, Mundy NI, Barton RA (2014), “ASPM and mammalian brain evolution: a case study in the difficulty in making macroevolutionary inferences about gene-phenotype associations.” Proc Biol Sci 281(1778):20131743 Details


    Hohenbrink P, Mundy NI, Zimmermann E, Radespiel U (2013), “First evidence for functional vomeronasal 2 receptor genes in primates.” Biol Lett 9(1):20121006 Details

    Janssen K, Mundy NI (2013), “Molecular population genetics of the melanic plumage polymorphism in Arctic skuas (Stercorarius parasiticus): evidence for divergent selection on plumage colour.” Mol Ecol 22(18):4634-43 Details

    Montgomery SH, Mundy NI (2013), “Parallel episodes of phyletic dwarfism in callitrichid and cheirogaleid primates.” J Evol Biol 26(4):810-9 Details

    Montgomery SH, Mundy NI (2013), “Microcephaly genes and the evolution of sexual dimorphism in primate brain size.” J Evol Biol 26(4):906-11 Details

    O'Connor TD, Mundy NI (2013), “Evolutionary Modeling of Genotype-Phenotype Associations, and Application to Primate Coding and Non-coding mtDNA Rate Variation.” Evol Bioinform Online 9:301-16 Details


    Bowden R, MacFie TS, Myers S, Hellenthal G, Nerrienet E, Bontrop RE, Freeman C, Donnelly P, Mundy NI (2012), “Genomic tools for evolution and conservation in the chimpanzee: Pan troglodytes ellioti is a genetically distinct population.” PLoS Genet 8(3):e1002504 Details

    Hohenbrink P, Radespiel U, Mundy NI (2012), “Pervasive and ongoing positive selection in the vomeronasal-1 receptor (V1R) repertoire of mouse lemurs.” Mol Biol Evol 29(12):3807-16 Details

    Montgomery SH, Mundy NI (2012), “Positive selection on NIN, a gene involved in neurogenesis, and primate brain evolution.” Genes Brain Behav Details

    Montgomery SH, Mundy NI (2012), “Evolution of ASPM is associated with both increases and decreases in brain size in primates.” Evolution 66(3):927-32 Details

    Pointer MA, Kamilar JM, Warmuth V, Chester SG, Delsuc F, Mundy NI, Asher RJ, Bradley BJ (2012), “RUNX2 tandem repeats and the evolution of facial length in placental mammals.” BMC Evol Biol 12:103 Details

    Pointer MA, Prager M, Andersson S, Mundy NI (2012), “A novel method for screening a vertebrate transcriptome for genes involved in carotenoid binding and metabolism.” Mol Ecol Resour 12(1):149-59 Details

    Scally A, Dutheil JY, Hillier LW, Jordan GE, Goodhead I, Herrero J, Hobolth A, Lappalainen T, Mailund T, Marques-Bonet T, McCarthy S, Montgomery SH, Schwalie PC, Tang YA, Ward MC, Xue Y, Yngvadottir B, Alkan C, Andersen LN, Ayub Q, Ball EV, Beal K, Bradley BJ, Chen Y, Clee CM, Fitzgerald S, Graves TA, Gu Y, Heath P, Heger A, Karakoc E, Kolb-Kokocinski A, Laird GK, Lunter G, Meader S, Mort M, Mullikin JC, Munch K, O'Connor TD, Phillips AD, Prado-Martinez J, Rogers AS, Sajjadian S, Schmidt D, Shaw K, Simpson JT, Stenson PD, Turner DJ, Vigilant L, Vilella AJ, Whitener W, Zhu B, Cooper DN, de Jong P, Dermitzakis ET, Eichler EE, Flicek P, Goldman N, Mundy NI, Ning Z, Odom DT, Ponting CP, Quail MA, Ryder OA, Searle SM, Warren WC, Wilson RK, Schierup MH, Rogers J, Tyler-Smith C, Durbin R (2012), “Insights into hominid evolution from the gorilla genome sequence.” Nature 483(7388):169-75 Details

    Walsh N, Dale J, McGraw KJ, Pointer MA, Mundy NI (2012), “Candidate genes for carotenoid coloration in vertebrates and their expression profiles in the carotenoid-containing plumage and bill of a wild bird.” Proc Biol Sci 279(1726):58-66 Details


    Montgomery SH, Capellini I, Venditti C, Barton RA, Mundy NI (2011), “Adaptive evolution of four microcephaly genes and the evolution of brain size in anthropoid primates.” Mol Biol Evol 28(1):625-38 Details


    Caine NG, Osorio D, Mundy NI (2010), “A foraging advantage for dichromatic marmosets (Callithrix geoffroyi) at low light intensity.” Biol Lett 6(1):36-8 Details

    Montgomery SH, Capellini I, Barton RA, Mundy NI (2010), “Reconstructing the ups and downs of primate brain evolution: implications for adaptive hypotheses and Homo floresiensis.” BMC Biol 8:9 Details

    Montgomery SH, Mundy NI (2010), “Brain evolution: microcephaly genes weigh in.” Curr Biol 20(5):R244-6 Details


    Bradley BJ, Pedersen A, Mundy NI (2009), “Blue eyes in lemurs and humans: same phenotype, different genetic mechanism.” Am J Phys Anthropol 139(2):269-73 Details

    Haas F, Pointer MA, Saino N, Brodin A, Mundy NI, Hansson B (2009), “An analysis of population genetic differentiation and genotype-phenotype association across the hybrid zone of carrion and hooded crows using microsatellites and MC1R.” Mol Ecol 18(2):294-305 Details

    MacFie TS, Nerrienet E, Bontrop RE, Mundy NI (2009), “The action of falciparum malaria on the human and chimpanzee genomes compared: absence of evidence for a genomic signature of malaria at HBB and G6PD in three subspecies of chimpanzee.” Infect Genet Evol 9(6):1248-52 Details

    MacFie TS, Nerrienet E, de Groot NG, Bontrop RE, Mundy NI (2009), “Patterns of diversity in HIV-related loci among subspecies of chimpanzee: concordance at CCR5 and differences at CXCR4 and CX3CR1.” Mol Biol Evol 26(4):719-27 Details

    Mundy NI (2009), “Conservation and convergence of colour genetics: MC1R mutations in brown cavefish.” PLoS Genet 5(2):e1000388 Details

    O'Connor TD, Mundy NI (2009), “Genotype-phenotype associations: substitution models to detect evolutionary associations between phenotypic variables and genotypic evolutionary rate.” Bioinformatics 25(12):i94-100 Details

    Pastorini J, Zaramody A, Curtis DJ, Nievergelt CM, Mundy NI (2009), “Genetic analysis of hybridization and introgression between wild mongoose and brown lemurs.” BMC Evol Biol 9:32 Details


    Ishtiaq F, Guillaumot L, Clegg SM, Phillimore AB, Black RA, Owens IP, Mundy NI, Sheldon BC (2008), “Avian haematozoan parasites and their associations with mosquitoes across Southwest Pacific Islands.” Mol Ecol 17(20):4545-55 Details

    Nadeau NJ, Minvielle F, Ito S, Inoue-Murayama M, Gourichon D, Follett SA, Burke T, Mundy NI (2008), “Characterization of Japanese quail yellow as a genomic deletion upstream of the avian homolog of the mammalian ASIP (agouti) gene.” Genetics 178(2):777-86 Details

    Pointer MA, Mundy NI (2008), “Testing whether macroevolution follows microevolution: are colour differences among swans (Cygnus) attributable to variation at the MCIR locus?” BMC Evol Biol 8:249 Details

    Pointer MA, Mundy NI (2008), “Carotenoid genetics: chicken skin sheds light on carotenoid genetics.” Heredity (Edinb) 101(5):393-4 Details


    Haitina T, Ringholm A, Kelly J, Mundy NI, Schiöth HB (2007), “High diversity in functional properties of melanocortin 1 receptor (MC1R) in divergent primate species is more strongly associated with phylogeny than coat color.” Mol Biol Evol 24(9):2001-8 Details

    King K, Bagnall R, Fisher SA, Sheikh F, Cuthbert A, Tan S, Mundy NI, Rosenstiel P, Schreiber S, Mathew CG, Roberts RG (2007), “Identification, evolution, and association study of a novel promoter and first exon of the human NOD2 (CARD15) gene.” Genomics 90(4):493-501 Details

    Mundy NI (2007), “Coloration and the genetics of adaptation.” PLoS Biol 5(9):e250 Details

    Nadeau NJ, Burke T, Mundy NI (2007), “Evolution of an avian pigmentation gene correlates with a measure of sexual selection.” Proc Biol Sci 274(1620):1807-13 Details

    Nadeau NJ, Mundy NI, Gourichon D, Minvielle F (2007), “Association of a single-nucleotide substitution in TYRP1 with roux in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica).” Anim Genet 38(6):609-13 Details


    Mundy NI (2006), “Genetic basis of olfactory communication in primates.” Am J Primatol 68(6):559-67 Details

    Mundy NI, Kelly J (2006), “Investigation of the role of the agouti signaling protein gene (ASIP) in coat color evolution in primates.” Mamm Genome 17(12):1205-13 Details

    Nadeau NJ, Minvielle F, Mundy NI (2006), “Association of a Glu92Lys substitution in MC1R with extended brown in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica).” Anim Genet 37(3):287-9 Details


    Mundy NI (2005), “A window on the genetics of evolution: MC1R and plumage colouration in birds.” Proc Biol Sci 272(1573):1633-40 Details

    Nerrienet E, Santiago ML, Foupouapouognigni Y, Bailes E, Mundy NI, Njinku B, Kfutwah A, Muller-Trutwin MC, Barre-Sinoussi F, Shaw GM, Sharp PM, Hahn BH, Ayouba A (2005), “Simian immunodeficiency virus infection in wild-caught chimpanzees from cameroon.” J Virol 79(2):1312-9 Details

    Surridge AK, Suárez SS, Buchanan-Smith HM, Mundy NI (2005), “Non-random association of opsin alleles in wild groups of red-bellied tamarins (Saguinus labiatus) and maintenance of the colour vision polymorphism.” Biol Lett 1(4):465-8 Details

    Surridge AK, Suárez SS, Buchanan-Smith HM, Smith AC, Mundy NI (2005), “Color vision pigment frequencies in wild tamarins (Saguinus spp.).” Am J Primatol 67(4):463-70 Details


    Eggert LS, Mundy NI, Woodruff DS (2004), “Population structure of loggerhead shrikes in the California Channel Islands.” Mol Ecol 13(8):2121-33 Details

    Filip LC, Mundy NI (2004), “Rapid evolution by positive Darwinian selection in the extracellular domain of the abundant lymphocyte protein CD45 in primates.” Mol Biol Evol 21(8):1504-11 Details

    Mundy NI, Badcock NS, Hart T, Scribner K, Janssen K, Nadeau NJ (2004), “Conserved genetic basis of a quantitative plumage trait involved in mate choice.” Science 303(5665):1870-3 Details

    Mundy NI, Helbig AJ (2004), “Origin and evolution of tandem repeats in the mitochondrial DNA control region of shrikes (Lanius spp.).” J Mol Evol 59(2):250-7 Details


    Ling MK, Lagerström MC, Fredriksson R, Okimoto R, Mundy NI, Takeuchi S, Schiöth HB (2003), “Association of feather colour with constitutively active melanocortin 1 receptors in chicken.” Eur J Biochem 270(7):1441-9 Details

    Majerus ME, Mundy NI (2003), “Mammalian melanism: natural selection in black and white.” Trends Genet 19(11):585-8 Details

    Mundy NI, Cook S (2003), “Positive selection during the diversification of class I vomeronasal receptor-like (V1RL) genes, putative pheromone receptor genes, in human and primate evolution.” Mol Biol Evol 20(11):1805-10 Details

    Mundy NI, Kelly J (2003), “Evolution of a pigmentation gene, the melanocortin-1 receptor, in primates.” Am J Phys Anthropol 121(1):67-80 Details

    Mundy NI, Kelly J, Theron E, Hawkins K (2003), “Evolutionary genetics of the melanocortin-1 receptor in vertebrates.” Ann N Y Acad Sci 994:307-12 Details

    Smith AC, Buchanan-Smith HM, Surridge AK, Mundy NI (2003), “Leaders of progressions in wild mixed-species troops of saddleback (Saguinus fuscicollis) and mustached tamarins (S. mystax), with emphasis on color vision and sex.” Am J Primatol 61(4):145-57 Details

    Smith AC, Buchanan-Smith HM, Surridge AK, Osorio D, Mundy NI (2003), “The effect of colour vision status on the detection and selection of fruits by tamarins (Saguinus spp.).” J Exp Biol 206(Pt 18):3159-65 Details

    Whinnett A, Mundy NI (2003), “Isolation of novel olfactory receptor genes in marmosets (Callithrix): insights into pseudogene formation and evidence for functional degeneracy in non-human primates.” Gene 304:87-96 Details