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Axel Barlow

Postdoctoral Research Associate in Palaeogenetics and Palaeogenomics
Evolutionary and Adaptive Genomics Group
Department of Biochemistry & Biology
University of Potsdam
Email: axel.barlow.abgmailcom

Profile on Researchgate

PhD, Systematics and Phylogeography of African Snakes, 2013, Bangor University, UK
MSc Ecology, 2008, Bangor University, UK
BSc Zoology, 2007, Bangor University, UK

Research Interests
My research interests centre on the use of genomics approaches to address questions in molecular ecology, such as interspecies hybridisation, population histories and admixture, demographics, and adaptation. My work involves a diverse range of study species, including bears, bison, lizards, snakes and fish, and even includes species that are now extinct, such as cave bears, sabre-toothed cats, and others. These projects have required me to develop an equally diverse range of research skills, including genome sequencing, ancient DNA methods, genome mapping and assembly, population genetic analysis, phylogenetic analysis, and, of course, fieldwork! For the future, I am open minded for new and exciting research directions, particularly as developments in DNA sequencing technology opens up new opportunities to study and unravel the process of evolution. If you are interested in my research, or would like any further information, then drop me an email!



  • Westbury MV, Hartmann S, Barlow A, Wiesel I, Leo V, Welch R, Parker DM, Sicks F, Ludwig A, Dalén L, Hofreiter M (2018) Extended and continuous decline in effective population size results in low genomic diversity but no signs of inbreeding in the world's rarest hyena species, the brown hyena. Molecular Biology and Evolution. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msy037.
  • Taron UH, Lell M, Barlow A, Paijmans JLA (2018) Testing of Alignment Parameters for Ancient Samples: Evaluating and optimising mapping parameters for ancient samples using the TAPAS tool. Genes 9, 157. DOI: 10.3390/genes9030157.
  • Basler N, Xenikoudakis G, Westbury MV, Song L, Sheng G, Barlow A (senior and corresponding author) (2017) Reduction of the contaminant fraction of DNA obtained from an ancient giant panda bone. BMC Research Notes 10, 754. DOI: 10.1186/s13104-017-3061-3 Paijmans JLA, Baleka S, Henneberger K, Taron UH, Trinks A, Westbury MV, Barlow A (senior and corresponding author) (2017) Sequencing single-stranded libraries on the Illumina NextSeq 500 platform. arXiv 1711.11004. http://arxiv.org/abs/1711.11004.
  • Paijmans JLA, Barnett R, Reumer JWF, de Vos J, Koot M, Gilbert T, Rohland N, Leonard JA, Barlow A, Hofreiter M. Evolutionary history and extinction dynamics of extinct sabre- and scimitar-toothed cats based on ancient mitogenomes. In Press: Current Biology. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.033
  • Westbury M, Baleka S, Barlow A, Hartmann S, Paijmans JLA, Kramarz A, Forasiepi AM, Bond M, Gelfo JN, Reguero MA, Mendoza PL, Taglioretti M, Scaglia F, Rinderknecht A, Jones W, Mena F, Billet G, de Muizon C, Aguilar JL, MacPhee RDE, Hofreiter M. (2017) A mitogenomic timetree for Darwin's enigmatic “transitional” South American mammal, Macrauchenia patachonica. Nature Communications, 8, 15951. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms15951.
  • Beck SV, Carvalho GR, Barlow A, Rüber L, Tan HH, Nugroho E, Wowor D, Azizah MNS, Herder F, Muchlisin ZA, de Bruyn M (2017) Plio-Pleistocene phylogeography of the Southeast Asian blue panchax killifish, Aplocheilus panchax. PLoS ONE, 12(7): e0179557. DOI: 10.1371/ journal.pone.0179557
  • Kehlmaier C*, Barlow A* (*joint first authors), Hastings AK, Vamberger M, Paijmans JLA, Steadman DW, Albury NA, Franz R, Hofreiter M, Fritz U (2017) Tropical ancient DNA reveals relationships of extinct Bahamian giant tortoise. Proceeding of the Royal Society of London B, 284 (1846), 20162235. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2016.2235.
  • Wecek K, Hartmann S, Paijmans JLA, Taron U, Xenikoudakis G, Cahill JA, Heintzman PD, Shapiro B, Baryshnikov B, Bunevich AN, Crees JJ, Dobosz R, Manaserian N, Okarma H, Tokarska M, Turvey ST, Wójcik JM, Żyła W, Szymura JM, Hofreiter M, Barlow A (2017) Complex admixture preceded and followed the extinction of wisent in the wild. Molecular Biology and Evolution, 34 (3): 598-612. DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msw254.
  • Maddock ST, Childerstone A, Fry BG, Williams DJ, Barlow A, Wüster W (2016) Multi-locus phylogeny and species delimitation of Australo-Papuan blacksnakes (Pseudechis Wagler, 1830: Elapidae: Serpentes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 107, 48–55. DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2016.09.005
  • Fortes GG, Grandal-d’Anglade A, Kolbe B, Fernandes D, Meleg IN, García-Vázquez A, Pinto-Llona AC, Constantin S, de Torres TJ, Ortiz JE, Frischauf C, Rabeder G, Hofreiter M, Barlow A (2016) Ancient DNA reveals differences in behaviour and sociality between brown bears and extinct cave bears. Molecular Ecology, 25, 4907–4918. DOI: 10.1111/mec.13800.
  • Zancolli G, Baker TG, Barlow A, Bradley RK, Calvete JJ, Carter KC, de Jager K, Owens JB, Price JF, Sanz L, Scholes-Higham A, Shier L, Wood L, Wüster CE, Wüster W. 2016. Is Hybridization a Source of Adaptive Venom Variation in Rattlesnakes? A Test, Using a Crotalus scutulatus × viridis Hybrid Zone in Southwestern New Mexico. Toxins, 8(6), p.188. DOI: 10.3390/toxins8060188
  • Thorpe RS, Barlow A, Malhotra A, Surget-Groba Y. 2015. Widespread parallel population adaptation to climate variation across a radiation: implications for adaptation to climate change. Molecular ecology, 24(5), 1019‐1030. DOI: 10.1111/mec.13093
  • Hofreiter M, Paijmans JLA, Goodchild H, Speller CF, Barlow A, Fortes GG, Thomas JA, Ludwig A, Collins MJ. 2015. The future of ancient DNA: Technical advances and conceptual shifts. BioEssays, 37(3), 284‐293. DOI: 10.1002/bies.201400160
  • Barlow A, Baker K, Hendry CR, Peppin L, Phelps T, Tolley KA, Wüster CE, Wüster W. 2013. Phylogeography of the widespread African puff adder (Bitis arietans) reveals multiple Pleistocene refugia in southern Africa. Molecular ecology, 22(4), 1134‐1157. DOI: 10.1111/mec.12157
  • Barlow A, Grail W, de Bruyn M, Wüster W. 2012. Anonymous nuclear markers for the African adders (Serpentes: Viperidae: Bitis). Conservation Genetics Resources, 4(4), 967‐969. DOI: 10.1007/s12686-012-9684-8
  • Richards DP, Barlow A, Wüster W. 2012. Venom lethality and diet: differential responses of natural prey and model organisms to the venom of the saw-scaled vipers (Echis). Toxicon, 59(1), 110‐116. DOI: 10.1016/j.toxicon.2011.10.015
  • de Bruyn M, Grail W, Barlow A, Carvalho GR, Bruyn M. 2010. Anonymous nuclear markers for SouthEast Asian halfbeak fishes (Dermogenys). Conservation Genetics Resources. 2:325–327. DOI: 10.1007/s12686-010-9228-z
  • Barlow A, Pook CE, Harrison RA, Wüster W. (2009). Coevolution of diet and prey-specific venom activity supports the role of selection in snake venom evolution. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B, 276(1666), 2443‐2449. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0048