Professor Nicci Illing


My primary research interest is to use the tools of modern genetics to unravel the answers to interesting evolutionary and developmental biology questions, using examples from the rich biological landscape of southern Africa.   Genetic analysis of organisms that are currently alive can be used to delve into the past, for example, understanding how flight evolved in the Natal long finger bat, Miniopterus natalensis  50 million years ago.  Similarly, we are using genetics and cell biology to understand how vegetative desiccation tolerance evolved in Xerophyta resurrection plants, and how floral symmetry is broken in the mirror image flowers of Wachendorfia paniculata and Cyanella alba