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HandWiki. Laurence Hurst. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 24 June 2024).
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Laurence Hurst
evolution fmedsci genetics

1. Introduction

Laurence Daniel Hurst (born 1965)[1] FMedSci FRS[2] is a Professor of Evolutionary Genetics in the Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Bath and the director of the Milner Centre for Evolution.[3][4]

2. Education

Hurst was educated at Truro School[1] and completed his Bachelor of Arts in Natural Sciences (Zoology) at Churchill College, Cambridge, in 1987.[5] After a year at Harvard University he returned to the UK, and was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Oxford in 1991[6] for research supervised by W. D. Hamilton and Alan Grafen.[6]

3. Career and Research

Hurst was a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge from 1993 to 1996 and has been a Professor at the University of Bath since 1997.[1]

His research interests[7] include evolution, genetics and genomics using computational and mathematical techniques to understand the way genes and genomes evolve. This has resulted in work on housekeeping genes,[8] gene orders,[9][10] and the evolution of drug resistance in Staphylococcus aureus,[11] Saccharomyces cerevisiae[12][13][14] and the evolution of sexual reproduction / sexual dimorphism.[15]

Hurst works on fundamental problems in the evolution of genetic systems, such as understanding why some sorts of mutations are less damaging than predicted whilst others are more damaging. Mutations that change proteins are, surprisingly, often not especially deleterious. Hurst showed that this was because the genetic code is structured in a way that renders it highly error-proof. Similarly, in applying network representations of gene interactions, he revealed why many deletions of genes have little effect and which deletions tend not to be recessive.[2]

By contrast, Hurst revealed that genomic changes often considered to be relatively harmless – such as gene order changes and mutations at 'silent' sites – are under selection for unanticipated reasons. He also showed how synonymous mutations can disrupt the way gene transcripts are processed. Similarly, in showing that genomes are arranged into gene expression domains, Hurst revealed that genes can affect the expression of other genes in their vicinity. (As of 2015) translation of this fundamental work to medicine is a focus of his research.[2]

3.1. Awards and Honours

Hurst was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2015.[2] His certificate of election to the Royal Society reads:

" Hurst is a leading authority on evolution of genetic systems. He showed that the genetic code is adapted to minimise errors, synonymous mutations in mammals are under selection and gene order is non-random. He was first to recognise the impact of gene expression levels on protein evolution. Hurst spearheaded novel approaches to evolutionary genetics deriving fitness from underlying biochemistry to predict the outcome of laboratory models. This led to fundamental insights into causes of gene dispensability, dominance and variation in gene family size. Hurst, collaborating with cell biologists, identified the human-specific pluripotency gene network and discovered human naïve stem cells.[16] "

Hurst was awarded the Scientific Medal of the Zoological Society of London in 2003, and elected a member of European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) in 2004. He was awarded The Genetics Society Medal in 2010.

Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions. Edit


  1. "HURST, Prof. Laurence Daniel". Who's Who. 2016 (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc.  (subscription or UK public library membership required) (Subscription content?)
  2. "Professor Laurence Hurst FMedSci FRS". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2015-11-17.  One or more of the preceding sentences incorporates text from the website where: "All text published under the heading 'Biography' on Fellow profile pages is available under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License." --"Royal Society Terms, conditions and policies". Archived from the original on 2015-09-25. Retrieved 2016-03-09. 
  3. Laurence Hurst at the University of Bath
  4. Hurst Laboratory of Evolutionary Genetics and Genomics
  5. "Laurence Hurst CV". Archived from the original on 2012-03-21. 
  6. Hurst, Laurence Daniel (1991). Intra-genomic conflict and evolution (PhD thesis). University of Oxford. OCLC 556449138.
  7. Laurence Hurst publications indexed by Google Scholar
  8. Lercher, M.J.; Urrutia, A.O.; Hurst, L.D. (2002). "Clustering of housekeeping genes provides a unified model of gene order in the human genome". Nature Genetics 31 (2): 180–183. doi:10.1038/ng887. PMID 11992122.
  9. Hurst, L.D.; Pál, C.; Lercher, M.J. (2004). "The evolutionary dynamics of eukaryotic gene order". Nature Reviews Genetics 5 (4): 299–310. doi:10.1038/nrg1319. PMID 15131653.
  10. Weber, Claudia C; Hurst, Laurence D (2011). "Support for multiple classes of local expression clusters in Drosophila melanogaster, but no evidence for gene order conservation". Genome Biology 12 (3): R23. doi:10.1186/gb-2011-12-3-r23. ISSN 1465-6906. PMID 21414197.
  11. Holden, M. T. G.; Feil, E.; Lindsay, J.; Peacock, S.; Day, N.; Enright, M.; Foster, T.; Moore, C. (2004). "Complete genomes of two clinical Staphylococcus aureus strains: Evidence for the rapid evolution of virulence and drug resistance". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 101 (26): 9786–9791. doi:10.1073/pnas.0402521101. PMID 15213324. PMC 470752. 
  12. Papp, Balázs; Pál, Csaba; Hurst, Laurence D. (2003). "Dosage sensitivity and the evolution of gene families in yeast". Nature 424 (6945): 194–197. doi:10.1038/nature01771. ISSN 0028-0836. PMID 12853957.
  13. Pál, C.; Papp, B.; Hurst, L. (2001). "Highly expressed genes in yeast evolve slowly". Genetics 158 (2): 927–931. PMID 11430355.
  14. Weber, C. C.; Hurst, L. D. (2009). "Protein Rates of Evolution Are Predicted by Double-Strand Break Events, Independent of Crossing-over Rates". Genome Biology and Evolution 1: 340–349. doi:10.1093/gbe/evp033. PMID 20333203.
  15. Hurst, Laurence D.; Peck, Joel R. (1996). "Recent advances in understanding of the evolution and maintenance of sex". Trends in Ecology & Evolution 11 (2): 46–52. doi:10.1016/0169-5347(96)81041-X. ISSN 0169-5347. PMID 21237760.
  16. "Certificate of election: EC/2015/24". London: Royal Society. Archived from the original on 20 December 2015. 
Name: Laurence Hurst
Born: Jan 1956
Ilkley, Yorkshire, UK
Title: Professor of Evolutionary Genetics
Affiliation: University of Bath
Honor: Unknown
Subjects: Others
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Update Date: 25 Nov 2022
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