Newswise — BETHESDA, MD – The Genetics Society of America (GSA) is pleased to announce that Brian Charlesworth, PhD (University of Edinburgh) has been awarded the Society's Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal for lifetime achievement in the field of genetics. The award, whose namesake was a Nobel laureate and geneticist, recognizes Dr. Charlesworth's profound impact on our understanding of population genetics and evolutionary biology. Dr. Charlesworth will receive the award at the 56th Annual Drosophila Research Conference, organized by GSA, March 4–8, 2015 in Chicago, IL.

"For over 40 years, Dr. Charlesworth has been a leader in evolutionary genetics research, both theoretical and empirical," said Charles Langley, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Genetics at the University of California, Davis. "Our understanding of the genetic basis of evolution — from the molecular to the population level — is deeper and richer as a result of his many contributions to the field."

Brian Charlesworth, PhD

Senior Honorary Professorial Fellow

University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Dr. Charlesworth is respected for his influence on the science of genetics, in particular his seminal achievements in population genetics and evolutionary biology. His work has helped to improve our understanding of how evolution acts on genetic variation between individuals in populations. Dr. Charlesworth's research has centered around theoretical and experimental population genetics, molecular and genome evolution, and life-history evolution. In particular, he has studied sequence evolution using the fruit fly Drosophila as a model system, and provided key insights into the evolution of sex chromosomes and transposable elements. One of his most influential contributions in the area of selection was his theory of background selection, whereby the elimination of selectively deleterious mutations affects variation at tightly linked sites, which helped to clarify the relationship between DNA sequence variation and recombination rates. His work is widely appreciated in the research community for its generality, strong empirical grounding, and the solid foundation it has provided for genetic studies of evolution.

Dr. Charlesworth has published over 250 scientific papers and three widely read books. He has led many strong departments during his career, taught genetics and evolution at elementary and advanced undergraduate and graduate levels, and served on editorial boards of various scientific journals. Dr. Charlesworth is a member of numerous scientific societies, having served as President of the Society for the Study of Evolution, the Genetics Society (UK), and the European Society for Evolutionary Biology. He has also received several Society awards throughout his career, including the Darwin Medal of the Royal Society in 2000, and the Darwin-Wallace Medal of the Linnean Society in 2010. He is a Fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Edinburgh, Honorary Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and was more recently elected as a Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences and as a member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO).

"The Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal is intended to pay tribute to such influential geneticists as Dr. Charlesworth – and to his superb achievements – on behalf of the entire genetics community," said Jasper Rine, PhD, 2015 GSA President and Professor of Genetics, Genomics and Development at the University of California, Berkeley.

The Thomas Hunt Morgan Medal is awarded to an individual GSA member for lifetime achievement in the field of genetics. It recognizes the full body of work of an exceptional geneticist. The Medal was established by GSA in 1981 and named in honor of Thomas Hunt Morgan (1866–1945), who won the Nobel Prize in 1933 for his studies of Drosophila chromosomes and their role in heredity.

To learn more about the GSA awards, and to view a list of previous recipients, please see

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About the Genetics Society of America (GSA)
Founded in 1931, the Genetics Society of America (GSA) is the professional scientific society for genetics researchers and educators. The Society’s more than 5,000 members worldwide work to deepen our understanding of the living world by advancing the field of genetics, from the molecular to the population level. GSA promotes research and fosters communication through a number of GSA-sponsored conferences including regular meetings that focus on particular model organisms. GSA publishes two peer-reviewed, peer-edited scholarly journals: GENETICS, which has published high quality original research across the breadth of the field since 1916, and G3: Genes|Genomes|Genetics, an open-access journal launched in 2011 to disseminate high quality foundational research in genetics and genomics. The Society also has a deep commitment to education and fostering the next generation of scholars in the field. For more information about GSA, please visit

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