Dr Eran Tauber

staff photo
Associate Professor in Genetics

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3455
Fax: +44 (0)116 252 3378

Email: et22@le.ac.uk

BSc, MSc, PhD, Jerusalem

Personal details

BSc, MSc, PhD

I earned my PhD in evolutionary biology (1999), at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, studying sensory physiology and evolutionary aspects of insects behaviour. Later, I shifted my focus to genetic and molecular aspects of behaviour, working with deaf Drosophila mutants at the University of Iowa. In 2000, I joined the Department of Genetics at the University of Leicester as a Marie-Curie fellow, where I engaged in studying the circadian clock system in Drosophila. In 2005 I was appointed a lecturer in molecular evolution. My work has been funded by NERC, BBSRC and the Royal Society. I serve as an ad-hoc referee for various journals and funding bodies, and a member of the BBSRC Pool of Experts, and NERC Peer Review College. I teach various topics in Genetics and Bioinformatics. My research focuses on evolutionary and molecular mechanisms of behaviour, and involves a broad range of techniques, from molecular biology to population genetics and bioinformatics.


BS7200 Postgraduate Training

BS2040 Bioinformatics

BS1005 Genes

BS7101 Gene and Genome Analysis (MSc in Bioinformatics)

BS3000 Evolutionary Genetics


Pegoraro M, Zonato V, Tyler ER, Fedele G, Kyriacou CP, Tauber E. 2017. Geographical analysis of diapause inducibility in European Drosophila melanogaster populations, Journal of Insect Physiology.  doi:10.1016/j.jinsphys.2017.01.015. Link

Zonato V, Collins L, Pegoraro M.,  Tauber E, Kyriacou CP, 2017. Is diapause an ancient adaptation in Drosophila?, Journal of Insect Physiology, , doi:10.1016/j.jinsphys.2017.01.017. Link

Khericha M, Kolenchery JB and Tauber E. 2016. Neural and non-neural contributions to sexual dimorphism of mid-day sleep in Drosophila melanogaster: a pilot study. Physiological Entomology 41: 327-334. doi:10.1111/phen.12134  Link

Pegoraro M, Bafna A, Davies NJ, Shuker DM, Tauber E. 2015. DNA methylation changes induced by long and short photoperiods in Nasonia. Genome Research. doi:10.1101/gr.196204.115 Link

Cook N, Trivedi U, Pannebakker BA, Blaxter M, Ritchie MG, Tauber E, Sneddon T, and Shuker DM. 2015 Oviposition but Not Sex Allocation Is Associated with Transcriptomic Changes in Females of the Parasitoid Wasp Nasonia vitripennis. G3 (Genes| Genomes| Genetics).  g3.115.021220; doi:10.1534/g3.115.021220. Link.

Davies NJ, Krusche P, Tauber E, Ott S. Analysis of 5' gene regions reveals extraordinary conservation of novel non-coding sequences in a wide range of animals. BMC Evolutionary Biology. 2015 Oct 19;15(1):227. doi: 10.1186/s12862-015-0499-6. Link

Stevenson TJ, Visser ME, Arnold W, Barrett P, Biello S, Dawson A, Denlinger DL,..., Tauber E,... et al. 2015. Disrupted seasonal biology impacts health, food security, and ecosystems: a call for integrated research. Proceedings of the Royal Society B. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1453. Link

Davies NJ & Tauber E 2015. WaspAtlas: a Nasonia vitripennis gene database and analysis platform. Database: the journal of biological databases and curation.  bav103 doi:10.1093/database/bav103  Link

Adewoye, AB, Kyriacou CP & Tauber E. 2015. Identification and functional analysis of early gene expression induced by circadian light-resetting in Drosophila. BMC Genomics.16: 570. doi:10.1186/s12864-015-1787-7. Link

Cook, N., Pannebakker, B.A., Tauber, E. & Shuker, D.M. 2015. DNA methylation and sex allocation in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. American Naturalist, 186(4). doi: 10.1086/682950 Link

Pegoraro M, Picot E, Hansen CN, Kyriacou CP, Rosato, E & Tauber, E. 2015. Gene Expression Associated with Early and Late Chronotypes in Drosophila melanogaster. Frontiers in Neurology. 6:100. DOI:10.3389/fneur.2015.00100 Link

Pegoraro, M., Gesto, JS.,Kyriacou, CP. & Tauber, E. 2014. Role for Circadian Clock Genes in Seasonal Timing: Testing the Bünning Hypothesis. PLoS Genetics 10(9): e1004603. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1004603. Link

Pegoraro, M., Noreen, S., Bhutani, S., Tsolou, A.  Schmid, R., Kyriacou, C.P. & Tauber, E. 2014.  Molecular evolution of a pervasive natural amino-acid substitution in Drosophila cryptochrome. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86483. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086483 Link

Zhang, L., Hastings, M.H., Green, E.W., Tauber, E., Sladek, M, Webster, S.G., Kyriacou, C.P. & Wilcockson, D.C. 2013. Dissociation of circadian and circatidal time-keeping in the marine crustacean Eurydice pulchra. Current Biology. 10.1016/j.cub.2013.07.075 Link

Tauber, E. 2012. Open season on the Bünning hypothesis and seasonal timing. What kind of insights can quantitative genetics provide us about this controversial hypothesis? Heredity. 108:469-470 Link

Pegoraro, M & Tauber, E. 2011. Animal clocks: a multitude of molecular mechanisms for circadian timekeeping. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews RNA. 2: 312-320. Link

Tauber, E., Miller-Fleming, L., Mason, R.P., Kwan, W., Clapp, J., Butler, NJ, Outeiro, TF, Muchowski PJ, & Giorgini, F. 2010. Functional gene expression profiling in yeast implicates translational dysfunction in mutant Huntingtin toxicity. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 286: 410-419. Link

Kyriacou, C.P. & Tauber, E 2010. Genes and genomic searches. In M Breed, J Moore (ed), Encyclopaedia of Animal Behaviour; 2: 12 -21, Academic Press, Oxford, UK. Link

Kyriacou, C.P., Peixoto, A.A., Sandrelli, F, Costa, R, & Tauber, E. 2008. Clines in clock genes: fine-tuning circadian rhythms to the environment. Trends in Genetics 24: 124-132. Link

Pegoraro, M & Tauber, E. 2008. Role of microRNA (miRNA) in circadian rhythmicity. Journal of Genetics 87: 505-511 Link

Tauber, E. & Kyriacou, CP. 2008. Genomic approaches for studying biological clocks. Functional Ecology 22: 19-29. Link

Tauber, E, Sandrelli, F., Zordan, MA, Pegoraro, M. Cisotto, P, Osterwalder, N. Piccin, A. Daga, A., Mazzotta, G., Rosato, E., Kyriacou C.P., & Costa R. 2007. Natural selection favours a newly derived allele of the circadian clock gene timeless in European Drosophila melanogaster populations. Science 316: 1895-1898. PubMed [Selected by Faculty of 1000Link

Sandrelli, F., Tauber, E., Zordan, MA, Pegoraro, M. Cisotto, P, Osterwalder, N. Piccin, A. Daga, A., Mazzotta, G., Rosato, E., Kyriacou C.P., & Costa R.A. 2007. A molecular basis for natural selection at the timeless locus in Drosophila melanogaster.. Science 316: 1898-1900. [Selected by Faculty of 1000]  Link

Rosato, E., Tauber, E. & Kyriacou, C.P. 2006. Molecular genetics of the fruit-fly circadian clock. European Journal of Human Genetics. 14, 729-738. Link

Tauber, E & Kyriacou C.P.  2005. Molecular evolution and population genetics of circadian clock genes. Methods in Enzymology. 393:797-817. Link

Tauber, E., Last K.S., Olive, P.J. & Kyriacou C.P. 2004. Clock gene evolution and functional divergence.  Journal of Biological Rhythms 19: 445-458. PubMed

Tauber, E. Roe, H., Costa, R., Hennessy, J.M. &  Kyriacou, C.P. 2003. Temporal mating isolation driven by a single behavioural gene in Drosophila. Current Biology 13: 140-145. Link

Tauber, E. & Eberl, D.F. 2003. Acoustic communication in Drosophila. Behavioural Processes  64: 197-210. PubMed

Tauber, E. & Eberl, D.F. 2002. The effect of male competition on the courtship song of Drosophila melanogaster. Journal of Insect Behavior 15: 109-120. PubMed.

Tauber, E. &  Kyriacou, C.P. 2001. Insect photoperiodism and circadian clocks: models and mechanisms. Journal of Biological Rhythms 16: 381-390. PubMed.

Tauber, E. & Eberl, D.F. 2001. Song recognition in auditory mutants of Drosophila: the role of sensory feedback. Journal of Comparative Physiology A 187: 341-348. PubMed.

Tauber, E., Cohen, D., Greenfield, M.D. & Pener, M.P. 2001. Duet singing and female choice in the bushcricket Phaneroptera nana. Behaviour 138: 411-430.

Yerushalmi, Y., Tauber, E. & Pener, M.P. 2001. Phase polymorphism in Locusta migratoria: the relative effects of geographic strains and albinism on morphometrics. Physiological Entomology 26: 95-105  Link

Tauber, E. 2001. Bi-directional communication system in katydids: the effect on chorus structure. Behavioral Ecology. 12: 308-312. Link

Tauber, E. & Pener, M.P. 2000. Song recognition in female bushcrickets Phaneroptera nana. Journal of Experimental Biology 203: 597-603 Link

Tauber, E. & Camhi, J.M. 1995. The wind evoked escape behavior of the cricket Gryllus bimaculatus: Integration of behavioral elements. Journal of Experimental Biology 198: 1895-1907. Link


Research in our lab focuses on the relation between genes, brain and behaviour

Our research combines broad range of approaches ranging from bioinformatics to neurogenetics and molecular biology, aiming to understand how the brain works. We are particularly interested in the circadian clock system, but other behaviours such as aggression, learning and memory, and sleep are also explored in the lab.

Our main model organism is Drosophila, and our facilities allow the simultaneous screening of behaviour of hundreds individuals. Recently, we have also launched experiments using Nasonia, an emerging model organism that offers exciting opportunities for epigenomic research. The lab is a member of InsecTIME, a Marie-Curie training network focused on studying rhythm mechanisms in insects.

Next generation sequencing, Quantitative trait loci (QTL) mapping and microarray gene profiling are a few examples for the techniques we use in the lab to study these mechanisms at a genome-wide level.

Our fly collection of strains from various wild populations, possibly the largest collection in Europe,  allow us to study the evolution of genes associated with circadian and seasonal timing, and provide a valuable tool to assess the impact of global climate changes at the genomic level.

Natural occurring variations in circadian clock genes and their functional role

Frequency distribution of natural alleles of cry in wild populations of Drosophila.

A circadian clock that drives daily rhythms is present in most organisms and is composed of an evolutionary conserved genetic network. Our NERC/BBSRC supported research is aimed to identify molecular adaptations in circadian clock genes and how these adaptations allow the circadian pacemaker to operate at different environments. For the last six years we have been studying natural polymorphisms in the timeless gene, encoding a light-sensitive circadian protein. This polymorphism generates two length isoforms of the TIMELESS protein via alternative methionine initiators, ls-tim and s-tim. Together with the Rosato and Kyriacou groups in Leicester, and the Costa group in Italy, we have shown that ls-tim is a new European allele that has spread extensively in Europe over the past few thousand years due to directional selection. The selective agent turns out to be photoperiod, and two papers have been published in Science on this work (Tauber et al., 2007; Sandrelli et al. 2007). This study, supported by a NERC award, provided the first molecular link between the circadian clock and seasonal timing.

The molecular basis of seasonal timing

Many organism detect the change in daylength (photoperiod) as a cue to time their seasonal response. The molecular basis of this photoperiodic clock is unknown. One of the fundamental questions in circadian biology is whether this time mechanism is linked to the circadian pacemaker. We are using the photoperiodic diapause response in Drosophila as a model system to test the effect of various clock mutations. We are employing  microarray global profiling and proteomics  to identify genes involved in the seasonal timer.

The circadian clock and the photoperiodic timer of Nasonia

Nasonia Peter Koomen_Mathijs Zweir_University of Groningen.jpg
Female Nasonia wasp. Photograph courtesy Peter Koomen and Mathijs Zwier, University of Groningen.

The parasitic wasp, Nasonia vitripennis exhibits a robust photoperiodic response, which was extensively studied 40 years ago. Nasonia is a typical long-day insect, in which short photoperiods experienced by the females induce diapause in their larval progeny. The photoperiodic timing is entirely maternal since embryos are committed to either diapause or direct development before they are oviposited. What makes the photoperiodic response of this wasp so interesting is the fact that several studies suggest that daylength measurement (photoperiodic timing) requires the circadian clock, and the two timing mechanisms are causally linked.
Recently, the first draft of the complete genome sequence of Nasonia has been completed, providing the opportunity to study the photoperiodic and the circadian clock in this organism at the molecular level. In addition, methods to knockdown genes in this insect have also been recently developed, allowing functional analysis of candidate genes. One of the objectives of this project is to identify the circadian clock genes in Nasonia and then knockdown these genes and test the effect on the photoperiodic response. Another set of experiments is aimed at taking advantage of the available genomic data and perform a genome-wide expression profiling using microarrays to identify genes that participate in photoperiodic timing. We will also carry experiments to identify the photoreceptor proteins that channel the light input into the circadian and photoperiodic systems.

Molecular basis for chronotypes in Drosophila

It has become apparent in recent years that the human circadian system shows natural variation in terms of the chronotypes that are expressed (eg 'larks' versus 'owls'). Given the underlying conservation of the fly and human circadian mechanism at the molecular level, fly chronotypes represent a potentially powerful model system to study such variation. We are using selected fly lines that have a significant phase difference in adult emergence, but only a small difference in circadian period. We plan to study these 'chronotypes' by subjecting them to a modified QTL analysis in order to identify their underlying genetic bases. We shall complement this genomic analysis with global expression profiling using an Affymetrix platform. It is hoped that these two approaches may identify all the differences between early and late flies irrespective of whether they originate from changes in the coding or in the regulatory regions of genes. Any candidate genes identified from the genomic and/or expression studies will be subsequently disrupted with the use of mutants or RNAi, to validate their contributions to the chronotype. We shall also generate a number of novel constructs using GAL4/UAS and FLP/FRT , to dissect out the anatomical substrates that underlie the two phenotypes, and to assess the importance of central versus peripheral clocks in generating these phase differences in behaviour. We hope that our results will provide a novel theoretical framework by which to understand the origins of human chronotypes.

Tauber research lab

Tauber lab is moving to the University of Haifa March 2017! Click here

Research in our lab focuses on the relation between genes, brain and behaviour. Our research combines broad range of approaches ranging from population genetics and bioinformatics  to neurogenetics and molecular biology, aiming to understand how the brain works. On this website you will find details of our current research projects, the people that work in the lab and a list of our publications.

The Tauber Lab is located at the Adrian Building, next to University Road, post code LE1 7RH. See map here.

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Contact Details

Department of Genetics
University of Leicester

Adrian Building
University Road
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)116 252 3374
E Mail: genetics@le.ac.uk

Head of Department
Professor Alison Goodall


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