Professor Jenny Graves
Jenny Graves made seminal contributions to the understanding of mammalian genome organization and evolution, exploiting the genetic diversity of Australia's unique animals as a source of genetic variation to study highly conserved genetic structures and processes. Her studies of the chromosomes and genes of kangaroos and platypus, devils (Tasmanian) and dragons (lizards) has shed light on the organisation, function and evolution of mammalian genomes, and led to influential new theories of the origin and evolution of human sex chromosomes and sex determining genes. She is (in)famous for her prediction that the human Y chromosome is disappearing. She made critical discoveries that the epigenetic silencing of mammalian X chromosomes occurred by transcriptional inhibition, and is mediated by DNA methylation. Her recent work, in collaboration with scientists at the University of Canberra, explores epigenetics and sex determination, using reptile models that have sex chromosomes, but undergo sex reversal at high temperatures.