Dr Matthew Hegarty


Dr Matthew Hegarty

Senior Lecturer

Institute Director of Employability

Contact Details



My research is focused on understanding how changes in the genome or transcriptome of an individual affects its phenotype, and also how genetic diversity affects populations. This research is based in a broad range of biological systems but always with a key theme of identifying genes underpinning physical traits. This is of particular relevance to the plant breeding and animal research programmes at IBERS, where my research brings a genomics aspect to these systems. I have a particular interest in the genetics of hybridisation and polyploidy, as many of the world's major crops are either polyploids or utilise hybrid vigour in their breeding.In addition to my own research interests, which heavily utilise the technology, I also oversee the IBERS Translational Genomics Facility, which supplies access to next-generation DNA sequencing and high-throughput genotyping for projects across IBERS and with collaborative partners.


Hawkins, J, de Vere, N, Griffith, A, Ford, CR, Allainguillaume, J, Hegarty, MJ, Baillie, L & Adams-Groom, B 2015, 'Using DNA Metabarcoding to Identify the Floral Composition of Honey. A New Tool for Investigating Honey Bee Foraging Preferences' PLoS One, vol 10, no. 8, pp. e0134735. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134735
Winton, CL, Plant, Y, Hind, P, McMahon, R, Hegarty, M, McEwan, N, Davies-Morel, M, Powell, W & Nash, D 2015, 'Comparative genetic diversity in a sample of pony breeds from the UK and North America: A case study in the conservation of global genetic resources' Ecology and Evolution, vol 5, no. 16, pp. 3507-3522. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.1562
Facey, PD, Méric, G, Hitchings, MD, Pachebat, JA, Hegarty, MJ, Chen, X, Morgan, LVA, Hoeppner, JE, Whitten, MMA, Kirk, WDJ, Dyson, PJ, Sheppard, SK & Del Sol, R 2015, 'Draft Genomes, Phylogenetic Reconstruction, and Comparative Genomics of Two Novel Cohabiting Bacterial Symbionts Isolated from Frankliniella occidentalis' Genome Biology and Evolution, vol 7, no. 8, pp. 2188-2202. DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evv136
Gonen, S, Hegarty, M, Yadav, R, Manwaring, HR & Yadav, R 2015, 'Developing low GI pearl millet and its potential in combatting diabetes' UK PlantSci, Harper Adam University, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2015 - 2015, .
Huson, KM, Haresign, W, Hegarty, M, Blackmore, T, Potter, C & McEwan, N 2015, 'Assessment of Genetic Relationship between Six Populations of Welsh Mountain Sheep using Microsatellite Markers' Czech Journal of Animal Science, vol 60, no. 5, pp. 216-223. DOI: 10.17221/8171-CJAS
Giorgi, D, Farina, A, Langdon, T, Hegarty, M, Bisaga, MR & Lucretti, S 2015, 'Progress in Oat FISHIS and Chromosome Specific Sequencing' Paper presented at Plant and Animal Genome XXIII, San Diego, United States of America, 2015 - 2015, .
Jones, C, Lloyd, D, Hegarty, M, de Vega, J, Ayling, S & Skot, L 2015, Comparitive population genomics of red clover domestication and improvement. in Proceedings of the 12th British Grassland Society Research Conference. British Grassland Society, pp. 59-60, BGS 12th Research Conference, Abersytwyth, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2015.
Mully, JF, Hargreaves, A, Hegarty, M, Heller, RS & Swain, M 2014, 'Transcriptomic analysis of the lesser spotted catshark (Scyliorhinus canicula) pancreas, liver and brain reveals molecular level conservation of vertebrate pancreas function' BMC Genomics, vol 15, 1074. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-1074
Dudek, M, Adams, J, Swain, M, Hegarty, M, Huws, S & Gallagher, J 2014, 'Metaphylogenomic and Potential Functionality of the Limpet Patella pellucida’s Gastrointestinal Tract Microbiome' International Journal of Molecular Sciences, vol 15, no. 10, pp. 18819-18839. DOI: 10.3390/ijms151018819
Thorogood, D, Blackmore, TM, Mathews, R, Allen, D, MacDuff, JH & Hegarty, MJ 2014, A genetic association between leaf elongation rate and flowering time in perennial ryegrass. in D Sokolović, C Huyghe & J Radović (eds), Quantitative Traits Breeding for Multifunctional Grasslands and Turf. Springer Nature, pp. 267-271.
Hargreaves, A, Swain, MT, Hegarty, MJ, Darren, L & John, M 2014, 'Restriction and recruitment-gene duplication and the origin and evolution of snake venom toxins' Genome Biology and Evolution, vol 6, no. 8, pp. 2088-2095. DOI: 10.1093/gbe/evu166
Yates, SA, Swain, MT, Hegarty, MJ, Chernukin, I, Lowe, MJ, Allison, GG, Ruttlink, T, Abberton, MT, Jenkins, G & Skøt, L 2014, 'De novo assembly of red clover transcriptome based on RNA-Seq data provides insight into drought response, gene discovery and marker identification' BMC Genomics, vol 15, pp. 453. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2164-15-453
Thorogood, D, Manzanares, C, Hegarty, MJ, Asp, T, Barth, S & Studer, B 2014, 'The Genetic Control of Self-Incompatibility in Grasses Revisited – Are There Really Just Two Loci?' Plant & Animal Genome XXII Conference, San Diego, United States of America, 2014 - 2014, pp. W092.
McMahon, R & Hegarty, MJ 2013, 'Red Kite Genetics – The Research', Boda Wennol, 28 01 November.
Domoney, C, Knox, M, Moreau, C, Ambrose, M, Palmer, S, Smith, P, Christodoulou, V, Isaac, P, Hegarty, MJ, Blackmore, TM, Swain, MT & Ellis, N 2013, 'Exploiting a fast neutron mutant genetic resource in Pisum sativum L. (pea) for functional genomics' Functional Plant Biology, vol 40, no. 12, pp. 1261-1270. DOI: 10.1071/FP13147
Hegarty, M, Coate, J, Sherman-Broyles, S, Abbott, RJ, Hiscock, SJ & Doyle, J 2013, 'Lessons from Natural and Artificial Polyploids in Higher Plants' Cytogenetic and Genome Research, vol 140, no. 2-4, pp. 204-225. DOI: 10.1159/000353361
Winton, CL, Hegarty, MJ, McMahon, R, Slavov, GT, McEwan, NR, Davies-Morel, MCG, Morgan, CT, Powell, W & Nash, DM 2013, 'Genetic diversity and phylogenetic analysis of the native mountain ponies of Britain and Ireland reveal a novel rare population' Ecology and Evolution, vol 3, no. 4, pp. 934–947. DOI: 10.1002/ece3.507
Jones, CM, Hegarty, MJ & Ravagnani, A 2013, 'The production and analysis of a synthetic hybrid: Trifolium pallescens x Trifolium occidentale' Plant and Animal Genome XXI, San Diego, California, United States of America, 2013 - 2013, pp. P0365.
Hegarty, MJ, Yadav, RS, Lee, MR, Armstead, IP, Sanderson, R, Scollan, ND, Powell, W & Skøt, L 2013, 'Genotyping by RAD sequencing enables mapping of fatty acid composition traits in perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne (L.))' Plant Biotechnology Journal, vol 11, no. 5, pp. 572–581. DOI: 10.1111/pbi.12045
Edwards, A, Pachebat, JA, Swain, MT, Hegarty, MJ, Hodson, AJ, Irvine-Fynn, TD, Edwards Rassner, SM & Sattler, B 2013, 'A metagenomic snapshot of taxonomic and functional diversity in an Alpine glacier cryoconite ecosystem: Alpine cryoconite metagenome' Environmental Research Letters, vol 8, no. 3, 035003. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/035003
Hegarty, MJ 2012, 'Invasion of the hybrids' Molecular Ecology, vol 21, no. 19, pp. 4669-4671. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2012.05720.x
Winton, CL, Hegarty, MJ, Slavov, GT, McEwan, NR, Davies-Morel, MCG, Potter, C, Powell, W & Nash, DM 2012, 'Phylogeographic relationships between native pony populations of Britain and Ireland'.
Allen, A, Thorogood, CJ, Hegarty, MJ, Lexer, C & Hiscock, SJ 2011, 'Pollen-pistil interactions and self-incompatibility in the Asteraceae: new insights from studies of Senecio squalidus (Oxford ragwort)' Annals of Botany, vol 108, no. 4, pp. 687-698. DOI: 10.1093/aob/mcr147
Hegarty, MJ 2011, 'Hybridization: Expressing yourself in a crowd' Current Biology, vol 21, no. 7, pp. R254-R255. DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.02.035
Reader, R, Parrott, C, Hegarty, M, McEwan, NR, Davies-Morel, M, Powell, W & Nash, DM 2011, 'An investigation of the role of Insulin-Like Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1) in determining adult height of the horse' BSAS, Nottingham, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2011 - 2011, pp. 175-175.
Hegarty, MJ, Batstone, T, Barker, GL, Edwards, KJ, Abbott, RJ & Hiscock, SJ 2011, 'Nonadditive changes to cytosine methylation as a consequence of hybridization and genome duplication in Senecio (Asteraceae)' Molecular Ecology, vol 20, no. 1, pp. 105-113. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2010.04926.x
Winton, CL, Hegarty, MJ, McEwan, NR, Davies-Morel, MCG, Powell, W & Nash, DM 2011, 'Characterisation of phylogeographic relationships between native pony populations of Britain and Ireland.' Ecological Genetics Group, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, 2011 - 2011, .
Abbott, RJ, Hegarty, MJ, Hiscock, SJ & Brennan, AC 2010, 'Homoploid hybrid speciation in action' Taxon, vol 59, no. 5, pp. 1375-1386.
Jones, RN & Hegarty, M 2009, 'Order out of chaos in the hybrid plant nucleus' Cytogenetic and Genome Research, vol 126, no. 4, pp. 376-389. DOI: 10.1159/000266171
Hegarty, MJ & Hiscock, SJ 2009, 'The complex nature of allopolyploid plant genomes' Heredity, vol 103, no. 2, pp. 100-101. DOI: 10.1038/hdy.2009.61
Abbott, RJ, Brennan, AC, James, JK, Forbes, DG, Hegarty, MJ & Hiscock, SJ 2009, 'Recent hybrid origin and invasion of the British Isles by a self-incompatible species, Oxford ragwort (Senecio squalidus L., Asteraceae)' Biological Invasions, vol 11, no. 5, pp. 1145-1158. DOI: 10.1007/s10530-008-9382-3
Hegarty, MJ, Barker, GL, Brennan, AC, Brennan, AC, Edwards, KJ, Abbott, RJ & Hiscock, SJ 2009, 'Extreme changes to gene expression associated with homoploid hybrid speciation' Molecular Ecology, vol 18, no. 5, pp. 877-889. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-294X.2008.04054.x
Hegarty, MJ, Barker, GL, Brennan, AC, Edwards, KJ, Abbott, RJ & Hiscock, SJ 2008, 'Changes to gene expression assocaitted with hybrid speciation in plants: further insights from transcriptomic studies in Senecio' Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 363, no. 1506, pp. 3055-3069. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0080
Atkinson, KV, Bishop, LA, Rhodes, G, Salez, N, McEwan, N, Hegarty, M, Robey, J, Harding, N, Wetherell, S, Lauder, RM, Pickup, RW, Wilkinson, M & Gatherer, D 2018, 'Genome Sequence of Human Rhinovirus A22, Strain Lancaster/2015' Genome Announcements, vol 5, no. 12. DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.01713-16
Skujina, I, McMahon, R & Hegarty, M 2017, 'Re-Interpreting Mitogenomes: Are Nuclear/Mitochondrial Sequence Duplications Correctly Characterised in Published Sequence Databases? ' Insights in Genetics and Genomics, vol 1, 6.1.
Thorogood, D, Yates, S, Manzanares, C, Skot, L, Hegarty, M, Blackmore, T, Barth, S & Studer, B 2017, 'A novel multivariate approach to phenotyping and association mapping of multi-locus gametophytic self-incompatibility reveals S, Z and other loci in a perennial ryegrass (Poaceae) population: Identifying Multi-Locus Gametophytic Self-Incompatibility Genes' Frontiers in Plant Science, vol 8, 1331. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2017.01331
Cameron, S, Lewis, KE, Huws, S, Hegarty, M, Lewis, PD, Pachebat, JA & Mur, L 2017, 'A pilot study using metagenomic sequencing of the sputum microbiome suggests potential bacterial biomarkers for lung cancer' PLoS One. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0177062
Atkinson, KV, Bishop, LA, Rhodes, G, Salez, N, McEwan, N, Hegarty, M, Robey, J, Harding, N, Wetherell, S, Lauder, RM, Pickup, RW, Wilkinson, M & Gatherer, D 2017, 'Genome Sequence of Human Papillomavirus 23 Strain HPV-23/Lancaster/2015' Genome Announcements, vol 5, no. 20, e00257-17. DOI: 10.1128/genomeA.00257-17
Bisaga, M, Lowe, M, Hegarty, M, Abberton, M & Ravagnani, A 2017, 'Deep sequencing of Suppression Subtractive Hybridisation drought and recovery libraries of the non-model crop Trifolium repens L.' Frontiers in Plant Science, vol 8, 213. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2017.00213
De Vere, N, Jones, LE, Gilmore, T, Moscrop, J, Lowe, A, Smith, D, Hegarty, M, Creer, S & Ford, CR 2017, 'Using DNA metabarcoding to investigate honey bee foraging reveals limited flower use despite high floral availability.' Scientific Reports, vol 7, 42838. DOI: 10.1038/srep42838
Mayorga, O, Kingston-Smith, A, Kim, EJ, Allison, G, Wilkinson, T, Hegarty, M, Newbold, C, Theodorou, M & Huws, S 2016, 'Temporal metagenomic and metabolomic chracterization of fresh perennial ryegrass degradation by rumen bacteria' Frontiers in Microbiology, vol 7, 1854. DOI: 10.3389/fmicb.2016.01854
Mora-Ortiz, M, Swain, M, Vickers, M, Hegarty, M, Kelly, R, Smith, L & Skot, L 2016, 'De-novo transcriptome assembly for gene identification, analysis, annotation, and molecular marker discovery in Onobrychis viciifolia' BMC Genomics, vol 17, 756. DOI: 10.1186/s12864-016-3083-6
Skujina, I, McMahon, R, Lenis, VP, Gkoutos, G & Hegarty, M 2016, 'Duplication of the mitochondrial control region is associated with increased longevity in birds' Aging, vol 8, no. 8, pp. 1781-1789. DOI: 10.18632/aging.101012
Blackmore, T, Thorogood, D, Skot, L, McMahon, R, Powell, W & Hegarty, M 2016, 'Germplasm dynamics: the role of ecotypic diversity in shaping the patterns of genetic variation in Lolium perenne' Scientific Reports, vol 6, 22603. DOI: 10.1038/srep22603
Grinberg, N, Lovatt, A, Hegarty, M, Macfarlane, AC, Skot, K, Kelly, R, Blackmore, T, Thorogood, D, King, RD, Armstead, I, Powell, W & Skot, L 2016, 'Implementation of genomic prediction in Lolium perenne (L.) breeding populations' Frontiers in Plant Science, vol 7, 133. DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2016.00133
Cameron, S, E. Lewis, K, Huws, S, Lin, W, Hegarty, M, D. Lewis, P, Mur, L & Pachebat, JA 2016, 'Metagenomic Sequencing of the Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Upper Bronchial Tract Microbiome Reveals Functional Changes Associated with Disease Severity' PLoS One, vol 11, no. 2, 0149095. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149095
Kam, J, Hegarty, M, Manwaring, HR, Yadav, R & Yadav, R 2016, 'Developing low GI pearl millet and its potential in combating diabetes' Plant and Animal Genome Conference XXIV, San Diego, California, United States of America, 2016 - 2016, .
de Vega, J, Ayling, S, Hegarty, MJ, Kudrna, D, Goicoechea, JL, Ergon, Å, Rognli, O-A, Jones, C, Swain, MT, Geurts, R, Lang, C, Mayer, KFX, Rössner, S, Yates, SA, Webb, KJ, Donnison, IS, Oldroyd, GED, Wing, R, Caccamo, M, Powell, W, Abberton, MT & Skot, L 2015, 'Red clover (Trifolium pratense L.) draft genome provides a platform for trait improvement' Scientific Reports, vol 5, 17394 . DOI: 10.1038/srep17394
Ellison, AR, Rodrigues Lopez, CM, Morán, P, Breen, J, Swain, M, Megias, M, Hegarty, M, Wilkinson, MJ, Pawluk, R & Consuegra Del Olmo, S 2015, 'Epigenetic regulation of sex ratios may explain natural variation in self-fertilization rates' Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, vol 282, no. 1819, pp. 1900. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.1900
Blackmore, T, Thomas, I, McMahon, R, Powell, W & Hegarty, M 2015, 'Genetic-geographic correlation revealed across a broad European ecotypic sample of perennial ryegrass (Lolium perenne) using array-based SNP genotyping' Theoretical and Applied Genetics, vol 128, no. 10, pp. 1917-1932. DOI: 10.1007/s00122-015-2556-3
McMahon, R, Debbonaire, A & Hegarty, M 2015, Genetic Analysis of Pedigree Welsh Pigs and British Landrace Pigs in relation to discriminating between pork products from these two breeds. Prifysgol Aberystwyth | Aberystwyth University, Aberystwyth.
Cameron, SJS, Huws, S, Hegarty, MJ, Smith, DPM & Mur, LAJ 2015, 'The human salivary microbiome exhibits temporal stability in bacterial diversity' FEMS Microbiology Ecology, vol 91, no. 9, fiv091. DOI: 10.1093/femsec/fiv091
Hadfield, SJ, Pachebat, JA, Swain, MT, Robinson, G, Cameron, SJS, Alexander, J, Hegarty, MJ, Elwin, K & Chalmers, RM 2015, 'Generation of whole genome sequences of new Cryptosporidium hominis and Cryptosporidium parvum isolates directly from stool samples' BMC Genomics, vol 16, 650. DOI: 10.1186/s12864-015-1805-9