Professor Mark A. Jobling

Professor of Genetics

Professor Mark Jobling

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3427
Fax: +44 (0)116 252 3378


Personal details

  • BA (Hons), DPhil (Oxon); FHEA

I was brought up and educated in Durham, and went to the University of Oxford to study Biochemistry in 1981. I then did a DPhil at the Genetics Laboratory there, where I developed an interest in human Y chromosomes. In 1992, I moved to the Department of Genetics in Leicester to study human Y chromosome diversity, under an MRC Training Fellowship, where I have remained until today, including a series of three Wellcome Trust Senior Fellowships.

I have a strong commitment to engaging the public about genetics, and have given over 30 public talks in the last five years to groups including family history societies, U3A, and schools. I give annual lectures on DNA in forensics as part of GENIE's Dynamic DNA event for year-9 students and their teachers. If you are interested in a talk from me on

  • human or medical genetics
  • human evolution
  • forensics
  • genetic genealogy
  • ancestry testing
  • genetics in historical studies

then get in touch.

I also play Tenor saxophone in The Histones - the Department of Genetics house band.

Funding bodies and editorial boards

Other responsibilities




ORCID iD: 0000-0002-8061-1308

Maisano Delser, P., Neumann, R., Ballereau, S., Hallast, P., Batini, C., Zadik, D. and JOBLING, M.A. (2017) Signatures of human European Paleolithic expansion shown by resequencing of non-recombining X-chromosome segments. Eur. J. Hum. Genet., doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2016.207. (PubMed)

Hallast, P., Maisano Delser, P., Batini, C., Zadik, D., Rocchi, M., Schempp, W., Tyler-Smith, C. and JOBLING, M.A. (2016) Great-ape Y-chromosome and mitochondrial DNA phylogenies reflect sub-species structure and patterns of mating and dispersal. Genome Res., 26, 427-439. doi:10.1101/gr.198754.115. (PubMed).

JOBLING, M.A., Rasteiro, R., and Wetton, J.H. (2016) In the blood: the myth and reality of genetic markers of identity. Ethnic Racial Stud., 39, 142-161. doi:10.1080/01419870.2016.1105990.

Sun, M., JOBLING, M.A., Taliun, D., Pramstaller, P.P., Egeland, T. and Sheehan, N.A. (2016) On the use of dense SNP marker data for the identication of distant relative pairs. Theor. Popul. Biol. 107, 14-25. doi: 10.1016/j.tpb.2015.10.002. (PubMed)

Batini, C., Hallast, P., Zadik, D., Maisano Delser, P., Benazzo, A., Ghirotto, S., Arroyo-Pardo, E., Cavalleri, G.L., de Knijff, P., Myhre Dupuy, B., Eriksen, H.A, King, T.E., López de Munain, A., López-Parra, A.M., Loutradis, A., Milasin, J., Novelletto, A., Pamjav, H., Sajantila, A., Tolun, A., Winney, B., and JOBLING, M.A. (2015) Large-scale recent expansion of European patrilineages shown by population resequencing. Nature Commun., 6, 7152. doi:10.1038/ncomms8152. (PubMed)

Balaresque, P., Poulet, N., Cussat-Blanc, S., Gerard, P., Quintana-Murci, L., Heyer, E., and JOBLING, M.A. (2015) Y-chromosome descent clusters and male differential reproductive success: Young lineage expansions dominate Asian pastoral nomadic populations. Eur. J. Hum. Genet., 23, 1413-1422. doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2014.285. (PubMed)

Hallast, P., Batini, C., Zadik, D., Maisano Delser, P., Wetton, J.H., Arroyo-Pardo, E., Cavalleri, G.L., de Knijff, P., Destro Bisol, G., Myhre Dupuy, B., Eriksen, H.A, Jorde, L.B., King, T.E., Larmuseau, M.H., López de Munain, A., López-Parra, A.M., Loutradis, A., Milasin, J., Novelletto, A., Pamjav, H., Sajantila, A., Schempp, W., Sears, M., Tolun, A., Tyler-Smith, Van Geystelen, A., Watkins, S., Winney, B., and JOBLING, M.A. (2015) The Y-chromosome tree bursts into leaf: 13,000 high-confidence SNPs covering the majority of known clades. Mol. Biol. Evol., 32, 661-673. doi: 10.1093/molbev/msu327 (PubMed). You can download the vcf for this dataset here.

Balaresque, P., King, T.E., Parkin, E.J., Heyer, E., Carvalho-Silva, D., Kraaijenbrink, T., de Knijff, P., Tyler-Smith, C. and JOBLING, M.A. (2014)  Gene conversion violates the stepwise mutation model for microsatellites in Y-chromosomal palindromic repeats. Hum. Mut., 35, 609-617. (PubMed)

Hallast, P., Balaresque, P., Bowden, G.R., Ballereau, S. and JOBLING, M.A. (2013) Recombination dynamics of a human Y-chromosomal palindrome: rapid GC-biased gene conversion, multi-kilobase conversion tracts, and rare inversions. PLoS Genet., 9: e1003666. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1003666. (PubMed)

Balaresque, P., Bowden, G.R., Adams, S.M., Leung, H.-Y., King, T.E., Rosser, Z.H., Goodwin, J., Moisan, J.-P., Richard, C., Millward, A., Demaine, A.G., Barbujani, G., Previderè, C., Wilson, I.J., Tyler-Smith, C. and JOBLING, M.A. (2010) A predominantly Neolithic origin for European paternal lineages. PLoS Biol., 8, e1000285. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000285. (PubMed) (LRA)

Rosser, Z.H., Balaresque, P. and JOBLING, M.A. (2009) Gene conversion between the X chromosome and the male-specific region of the Y chromosome at a translocation hotspot. Am. J. Hum. Genet., 85, 130-134. (PubMed) (LRA)

King, T.E. and JOBLING, M.A. (2009) Founders, drift and infidelity: the relationship between Y chromosome diversity and patrilineal surnames. Mol. Biol. Evol., 26, 1093-1102. (PubMed) (LRA)

Adams, S.M., Bosch, E., Balaresque, P.L., Ballereau, S.J., Lee, A.C., Arroyo, E., López-Parra, A.M., Aler, M., Gisbert-Grifo, M.S., Carracedo, A., Lavinha, J., Martínez-Jarreta, B., Quintana-Murci, L., Picornell, A., Ramon, M., Skorecki, K., Behar, D.M., Calafell, F. and JOBLING, M.A. (2008) The genetic legacy of religious diversity and intolerance: paternal lineages of Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Iberian Peninsula. Am. J. Hum. Genet., 83, 725-736. (PubMed) (LRA)

Bowden, G.R., Balaresque, P., King, T.E., Hansen, Z., Lee, A.C., Pergl-Wilson, G., Hurley, E., Roberts, S.J., Waite, P., Jesch, J., Jones, A.L., Thomas, M.G., Harding, S.E. and JOBLING, M.A. (2008) Excavating past population structures by surname-based sampling: the genetic legacy of the Vikings in northwest England. Mol. Biol. Evol., 25, 301-309. (PubMed) (LRA)

King, T.E., Parkin, E.J., Swinfield, G., Cruciani, F., Scozzari, R., Rosa, A., Lim, S.-K., Xue, Y., Tyler-Smith, C. and JOBLING, M.A. (2007) Africans in Yorkshire? - the deepest-rooting clade of the Y phylogeny within an English genealogy. Eur. J. Hum. Genet., 15, 288-293. (PubMed) (LRA)

Books and review articles

JOBLING, M., Hollox, E., Hurles, M., Kivisild, T. and Tyler-Smith, C. (2014) Human Evolutionary Genetics (2nd edition). 670pp., Garland Science, New York/London.

Batini, C. and JOBLING, M.A. (2017) Detecting past male-mediated expansions using the Y chromosome. Hum. Genet. doi 10.1007/s00439-017-1781-z (PubMed)

Hallast, P. and JOBLING, M.A. (2017) The Y chromosomes of the great apes. Hum. Genet. doi 10.1007/s00439-017-1769-8 (PubMed)

JOBLING, M.A. (2012) The impact of recent events on human genetic diversity. Phil. Trans. Roy. Soc., 367, 793-799. (PubMed)

Harding, S., JOBLING, M. and King, T. (2010) Viking DNA: The Wirral and West Lancashire Project. 148pp., Nottingham University Press, Nottingham.

King, T.E. and JOBLING, M.A. (2009) What’s in a name? - Y chromosomes, surnames, and the genetic genealogy revolution. Trends Genet., 25, 351-360. (PubMed)

JOBLING, M.A. and Gill, P. (2004) Encoded evidence: DNA in forensic analysis. Nature Rev. Genet., 5, 739-751. (PubMed)

Online talk

JOBLING, M. (2015), "An overview of human migrations", in Rosenberg, N. and Nielsen, R. (eds), Human Population Genetics II, The Biomedical & Life Sciences Collection, Henry Stewart Talks Ltd, London (online at


Current and recent projects

Sex, genomes, history: molecular, evolutionary and cultural effects on human genetic diversity (Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellowship)

This project built upon progress made in the previous two Fellowship terms by addressing two major questions:

  • How has residence on the sex chromosomes affected the long- and short-term evolution of genic and non-genic sequences in primates?
  • How do the molecular evolutionary forces acting on these sequences interact with general and sex-specific population processes, and how can knowledge of molecular and population-level influences illuminate the histories of human populations themselves?
  • To do this, we exploited the recent quantum leap in DNA sequencing and typing technology to provide a relatively unbiased and large-scale picture of diversity. We used sequence-capture and Illumina sequencing to generate high-coverage sex-chromosomal and autosomal data on ~440 human and ~20 great ape males.

So far, we have published a Y-chromosome phylogeny and our population study of European Y diversity; we have also published our Y and mtDNA data on great apes. A paper on whole mtDNA sequences in European populations will soon appear, and we are also working to analyse multi locus data at the population level in Europe and integrate this with extant ancient DNA data. Other Y-chromosomal data from our sequencing experiments are being analysed to understand the details of gene conversion processes in palindromic sequences.

The Impact of Diasporas on the making of Britain

NRG YHG Distribution
NRG YHG Distribution

This multidisciplinary collaboration drew on the world-class expertise of academics based in the University of Leicester in the Department of Genetics, the School of Archaeology and Ancient History, the School of Historical Studies and the School of English. We aimed to reappraise key questions and evidence concerning the population history of Britain and the roots of the identities of the historical nations of the island, focusing especially on the methodological interfaces between academic disciplines. Funding came from the Leverhulme Trust as a programme grant (PI: Prof Joanna Story, School of Historical Studies). We are currently working on papers that describe Y and mtDNA data from the People of the British Isles project (PI: Walter Bodmer, Oxford), and also on Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC) approaches to understanding Viking migrations. An ongoing project is examining the population of Normandy within the framework of Viking migration.

Genetic mechanisms of coronary artery disease in men – next-generation sequencing of male-specific region of the Y chromosome

This Britsh Heart Foundation Project Grant is led by Prof Maciej Tomaszewski of the University of Manchester, and aims to uncover the MSY variants responsible for the increased risk of Coronary Artery Disease among men who carry Y chromosomes belonging to haplogroup I, found in Europe.

Next-generation sequencing approaches to short-tandem repeat sequence variation

This BBSRC-funded CASE studentship uses next-generation sequencing (NGS) to study the internal structure of human short-tandem repeats. These markers are universally used in forensic analysis, but genotyping considers only allele length, and not allele sequence. The next few years promise to bring the power of NGS to bear on forensic identification, yet little is known about what new opportunities and problems sequence data will bring. The project is co-supervised by Jon Wetton, and is partnered by the company Key Forensic Services Ltd.

We also have a number of other forensically-focused projects that are exploiting the power of NGS and third-generation technologies to improve human individual identification, animal species ID, and DNA tagging technologies.


We are interested in patterns of human genetic diversity, and how these are influenced by population-level processes including migration, social organisation, language and culture, as well as fundamental genome-level processes of mutation, copy number variation, gene conversion and recombination.

We have focused on the diversity of the non-recombining region of the paternally inherited Y chromosome. Comparisons with maternally inherited mitochondrial DNA provide information about sex-biased population processes, and we are also studying the haplotype block structure of the autosomal and X-chromosomal genome, which provides phylogeographically informative markers.

Our current population studies are on Western Europe and the British Isles in particular, including patrilineal surnames as cultural markers of male coancestry. We collaborate with colleagues in History, Archaeology and English in a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the human past.

PhD projects are offered in these general areas; applicants are encouraged to think of projects that would match their own areas of interest and complement our other activities. Please contact me for further information or to discuss project ideas.

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Contact Details

Department of Genetics
University of Leicester

Adrian Building
University Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3374

Fax: +44 (0)116 252 3378

E Mail:


Interim Head of Department

Professor Alison Goodall