Professor Terence J Robinson

Prof. Terrence Robinson


I obtained my doctorate from the University of Pretoria and completed a one-year postdoctoral in the Department of Cellular Biology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer and Tumor Research Institute, Houston.  Following shortly on this, I worked as a research associate in the Institute for Molecular Genetics, Baylor College of Medicine for several years before returning to the University of Pretoria. I served at Stellenbosch University (SU) as Head of the Department of Zoology, Executive Head of the Department of Botany and Zoology and as Vice-Dean Research in the Faculty of Science. As of January 2015, I hold an emeritus position in Botany and Zoology.

Brief Statement of Research Interests

My research is in the fields of evolutionary genetics and aspects of chromosome biology including molecular cytogenetics, systematics and phylogenomics. This entails using the technical advances in contemporary flow-cytometry and data from the human and other sequenced genomes. Additionally my research has examined the use of chromosomal characters in phylogeny reconstruction. I have focused on species that are critical to discerning the major features of mammalian genome evolution and the use of this information to reconstruct the evolutionary histories of mammals of differing evolutionary ages. This has included Afrotheria—a strictly African assemblage comprising the elephant, hyrax, sea cows, aardvark, elephant shrew and the golden moles and the tenrecs of Madagascar—and most recently Bovidae (antelope, cattle, sheep and goats).



Archive papers

Evolutionary Genomics



Archived papers (1997 - 2009)



Cernohorska H, Kubickova S, Kopecna O, Vozdova M, Matthee CA, Robinson TJ and Rubes J.  (2015).  NangerEudorcas, Gazella and Antilope form a well-supported chromosomal clade within Antilopini (Bovidae, Cetartiodactyla).  Chromosoma124:235247 (DOI 10.1007/s00412-014-0494-5).

Farré M, Robinson TJ, Ruiz-Herrera A. (2015).  An integrative breakage model of mammalian genome evolution.  Bioessays 37: 479–488. 

Dobigny G, Britton-Davidian J and Robinson TJ (2015). Chromosomal polymorphisms in mammals: an evolutionary perspective.  Biological Reviews: pp. 000–000. 1 doi: 10.1111/brv.12213.

Robinson TJ, Cernohorska H, Schulze E and Duran-Puig A (2015).  Molecular cytogenetics of tragelaphine and alcelaphine interspecies hybrids: hybridization, introgression and speciation in some African antelope. Biology Letters 11: 20150707 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2015.0707


Robinson TJ, Cernohorska H,  Diedericks G, Cabelova K, Duran A and Matthee CA. (2014). Phylogeny and vicariant speciation of the Grey Rhebok, Pelea capreolus. Heredity 112: 325–332.

Chevret P, Robinson TJ, Perez P, Veyrunes F and Britton-Davidian J. (2014). Phylogeographic survey of Mus minutoides in South Africa: taxonomic and karyotypic inference from Cytochrome b sequences of museum specimens. PLoS ONE 9(6): e98499. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098499

Cornelis G, Vernochet C, Malicorne S, Souquerre S, Tzika A, Soarimalala V, Goodman S, Catzeflis F, Robinson TJ, Milinkovitch MC, Pierron G, Heidmann O, Dupressoir A, Heidmann T. (2014).  Ancestral capture of syncytin-Ten1, a fusogenic endogenous retroviral envelope gene involved in placentation in the Afrotherian tenrecs.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. (doi/10.1073/pnas.1412268111)

Veyrunes F, Perez J, Borremans B, Gryseels S, Richards LR, Duran A, Robinson TJ, Britton-Davidian J. (2014).  A new cytotype of the African pygmy mouse Mus minutoides in Eastern Africa. Implications for the evolution of sex-autosome translocations. Chromosome Research 22: 533-43.


Waters, Paul D; and Robinson, Terence J (March 2013). Evolution of the Mammalian X Chromosome. In: eLS. John Wiley & Sons, Ltd: Chichester. DOI: 10.1002/9780470015902.a0020739.pub2

Campana MG, Robinson TJ, Campos P and Tuross N. (2013). Independent confirmation of a diagnostic sheep/goat peptide sequence through DNA analysis and further exploration of its taxonomic utility within the Antilopinae. Journal of Archaeological Science 40: 1421-1424.

Cernohorska, H, Kubickova S, Kopecna O, Kulemzina AI, Perelman PL , Elder F FB , Robinson TJ, Graphodatsky AS and Rubes J. (2013). Molecular cytogenetic insights to the phylogenetic affinities of the giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) and pronghorn (Antilocapra americana). Chromosome Research (DOI 10.1007/s10577-013-9361-0). 

Segura J, Capilla L, Farré M, Ferreti L, Ramos-Onsins S, Reis F, Oliver-Bonet M, Fernández-Bellón H, Garcia F, Garcia-Caldés M, Robinson TJ and Ruiz-Herrera A. (2013). Insights into mechanisms that affect meiotic recombination rates and crossover interference in eutherian mammals. Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences 280: 20131945.


Robinson TJ and Yang F.  (2012).  Molecular Cytogenetics: Karyotype evolution, Phylogenomics and Future Prospects (Editorial). Heredity 108: 1–3; doi:10.1038.

Ruiz-Herrera, A., Farré M. and Robinson T.J.  (2012).  Molecular Cytogenetic and Genomic insights to Mammalian Chromosomal Evolution.  Heredity 108: 28–36; doi:10.1038.

Al Nadaf S, Deakin JE, Gilbert C, Robinson TJ, Graves JA and Waters PD (2012). A cross-species comparison of escape from X inactivation in Eutheria: implications for evolution of X chromosome inactivation. Chromosoma 121: 7178.

Badenhorst D., Dobigny G., Robinson T.J. (2012).  Karyotypic evolution of Hapalomys inferred from chromosome painting: a detailed characterization contributing new insights into the ancestral Murinae karyotype.  Cytogenetic and Genome Research 136:83–88; DOI: 10.1159/000335286.

Wesche P.L. and Robinson T.J. (2012).  Different patterns of Robertsonian fusion pairing in Bovidae and the house mouse: the relationship between chromosome size andnuclear territories.  Genetics Research 94: 97–111.

Badenhorst D, Tatard C, Suputtamongkol Y, Robinson TJ and Dobigny G. (2012).  Host cell/Orientia tsutsugamushi interactions: evolution and expression of syndecan-4 in Asian rodents (Rodentia, Muridae).  Infection Genetics and Evolution 12: 1136–1146.

Britton-Davidian J, Robinson T.J. and Veyrunes F. (2012).  Systematics and evolution of the African pygmy mice, subgenus Nannomys: a review.  Acta Oecologica 42: 41 - 49.


Huang L., Jing M., Nie W., Robinson T.J. and Yang F. (2011).  Chromosome homologies between tsessebe (Damaliscus lunatus) and Chinese muntjac (Muntiacus reevesi) facilitate tracing the evolution history of Damaliscus (Bovidae, Antilopinae, Alcelaphini).  Cytogenetics and Genome Reseach 132: 264–270.

Cernohorska H., Kubickova S., Vahala J., Robinson T.J. and Rubes J..  (2011).  Cytotype A of Kirk’s dik-dik (Madoqua kirkii) shows multiple tandem fusions.  Cytogenetics and Genome Research 132: 255–263.

Kovalskaya Yu K., Aniskin V.M., Bogomolov P.L., Surov A.V., Tikhonov I.A., Tikhonova G.N., Robinson T.J. and Volobouevb V.T. (2011).  Karyotype reorganisation in the subtilis group of birch mice (Rodentia, Dipodidae, Sicista): unexpected taxonomic diversity within a limited distribution.  Cytogenetics and Genome Reseach 132: 271–288.

Smit H.A., Jansen van Vuuren B., O’Brien P.C.M,. Yang F., Ferguson-Smith M. and Robinson T.J. (2011).  Phylogenetic relationships of elephant-shrews (Afrotheria, Macroscelididae).  Journal of Zoology (London) 284: 133–143.

Robinson T.J. and Ropiquet A.  (2011).  Examination of Hemiplasy, Homoplasy and Phylogenetic Discordance in Chromosomal Evolution of the Bovidae.  Systematic Biology 60: 439-450. (doi: 10.1093/sysbio/syr045).

Chaumeil J., Waters P.D., Koina E., Gilbert C., Robinson T.J., Marshall Graves J.A. (2011). Evolution from XIST-independent to XIST-controlled X-chromosome inactivation: epigenetic modifications in distantly related mammals. PLoS One 6: e19040.

Solano E., Gilbert C., Richards L., Taylor P.J., Soarimalala V., Engelbrecht A., Goodman S.M. and Robinson T.J. (2011).  First karyotypic descriptions of Malagasy rodents (Nesomyinae, Muridae) reveal variation at multiple taxonomic levels.  Journal of Zoology (London) 285: 110-118.  (Print ISSN 0952-8369).

Badenhorst D., Dobigny G., Adega F., Chaves R., O’Brien P.C.M., Ferguson-Smith M.A., Waters P.D. and Robinson T.J. (2011).  Chromosomal evolution in Rattus sensu lato (Muridae, Rodentia).  Chromosome Research 19:709–727. DOI 10.1007/s10577-011-9227-2.

Meredith R.W., Janecka J.E., Gatesy J., Ryder O.A., Fisher C.A., Teeling E.C., Goodbla A., Eizirik E., Stadler T., Rabosky D.L., Honeycutt R.L., Flynn J.J., Steiner C., Williams T., Robinson T.J. Burk A., Ayoub N.A., Springer M.S., Murphy M.J. (2011).  Impacts of the Cretaceous Terrestrial Revolution and KPg Extinction on Extant Mammal Diversification.  Science 334: 521-524 DOI: 10.1126/science.1211028.

Greve G., Alechine E., Pasantes J.J., Hodler C., Rietsche W., Robinson T.J. and  Schempp W. (2011)  Y-chromosome variation in hominids: High intra-specific variation is restricted to the polygamous chimpanzee.  PLoS ONE 6(12): e29311. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029311.


Fontanesi L , Forestier L , Allain D , Scotti E , Beretti F , Tazzoli M , Deretz-Picoulet S, Pecchioli E , Vernesi C  Robinson T J , Malaney J.L., Russo V. and Oulmouden A. (2010).   Characterization of the rabbit agouti signaling protein (ASIP) gene: transcripts analysis and identification of the causative mutation of the nonagouti black coat color.  Genomics 95: 166–175.

Veyrunes F., Chevret P., Catalan J., Castiglia R., Watson J., Dobigny G., Robinson T.J. and Britton-Davidian J.  (2010).  A novel sex determination system in a close relative of the house mouse.  Proceedings of the Royal Society B Biological Sciences 277: 1049–1056.

Ropiquet A., Hassanin A., Pagacova E., Gerbault-Seureau M., Cernohorska H., Kubickoua S., Bonillo C., Rubes J. and Robinson T.J. (2010).  A paradox revealed: karyotype evolution in the four-horned antelope occurs by tandem fusion (Mammalia, Bovidae, Tetracerus quadricornis).  Chromosome Research 18: 277–286.

Jansen van Vuuren B., Robinson T.J., VazPinto P., Estes R. and Matthee C.A. (2010).  Western Zambian sable antelope: are they a geographic extension of the giant sable (Hippotragus niger variani)?  South African Journal of Wildlife Management 40: 35–42.

Veyrunes F., Catalan J., Tatard C., Cellier-Holzem E. Watson J., Chevret P., Robinson T.J. and Britton-Davidian J. (2010).  Mitochondrial and chromosomal insights into karyotypic evolution of the pygmy mouse, Mus minutoides, in South Africa.  Chromosome Research 18:563-574.

Ruiz-Herrera A., Farré M., Ponsà M. and Robinson T.J. (2010). Selection against Robertsonian fusions involving housekeeping genes in the house mouse: integrating data from gene expression arrays and chromosome evolution.  Chromosome Research 18: 801–808.

Robinson TJ and Ruiz-Herrera A (2010).  Mammalian chromosomal evolution: from ancestral states to evolutionary regions (Page 143-158. In: Evolutionary Biology - Concepts, Molecular and Morphological Evolution. Ed. Pierre Pontarotti. Springer-Verlag Berlin-Heidelberg-New York.  DOI 10.1007/978-3-642-12340-5_9.

Current collaboration


Dr Aurora Ruiz-Herrera
Unitat de Citologia i Histologia, Facultat de Biociències, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Barcelona

Czech Republic

Professor Jiri Rubes
Veterinary Research Institute Hudcova,
Brno Australia


Dr Janice Britton-Davidian
Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, Génétique & Environnement, Université Montpellier II, Montpellier





Dr Gauthier Dobigny
Institut de Recherche pour le Développement , Centre de Biologie pour la Gestion des Populations Campus de Baillarguet, Montferrier-sur-Lez,

Dr Frederic Veyrunes
Institut des Sciences de l'Evolution, Génétique & Environnement, Université Montpellier II, Montpellier


Dr Magnus Andersson
Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences
University of Helsinki



Contact Details

Department of Botany and Zoology
University of Stellenbosch
Private Bag X1
Matieland 7602
South Africa
TEL: +27 21 808 3955
FAX: +27 21 808 2405