Departmental Lecturer in Biology of Disease
I am interested in the evolution of viruses and selfish genetic elements – two groups that come together in endogenous retroviruses or ERVs (retroviruses that have integrated into the germline of their host and are then inherited vertically). Specific research questions include whether or not the human population harbours replication active ERVs, and how often, and in what manner, they transfer between other host genomes. My own work is computer based and I collaborate with experimental virologists, chiefly here at Oxford and at Imperial College London. Other projects include comparative analyses and modelling of viral genomes to investigate the evolution of gene overlap and new genes (see my web application/database under development at http://virus.zoo.ox.ac.uk/rnavirusdb/index.php.
- Magiorkinis G, Gifford R, Katzourakis A, De Ranter J & Belshaw R. (2012) Env-less endogenous retroviruses are genomic superspreaders. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA 109:7385-90
- Belshaw R, Sanjuan R & Pybus OG. (2011) Viral mutation and substitution: units and levels. Current Opinion in Virology 1:430-5
- Chirico N, Vianelli A & Belshaw R. (2010) Why genes overlap in viruses. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London B. 277:3809-17
- Sanjuán, R., Nebot, M.R., Chirico, N., Mansky, L.M. & Belshaw, R. (2010). Viral mutation rates. Journal of Virology. 84: 9733-48.
- Belshaw, R., de Oliviera, T., Markowitz, S. & Rambaut, A. (2009). The RNA Virus Database. Nucleic Acids Research. 37: D431-D435.
- Belshaw, R., Gardner, A., Rambaut, A. & Pybus, O.G. (2008). Pacing a small cage: mutation and RNA viruses. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 23: 188-193
- Belshaw, R., Pybus, O.G., Rambaut, A. (2007). The evolution of genome compression and genomic novelty in RNA viruses. Genome Research 17: 1496-1504.
- Belshaw, R., Watson, J., Katzourakis, A., Howe, A., Woolven-Allen, J., Burt, A. & Tristem, M. (2007) Rate of recombinational deletion among human endogenous retroviruses. Journal of Virology 81: 9437-9442
- Belshaw, R. & Bensasson, D. (2006) The rise and falls of introns. Heredity 96: 208-213
Belshaw, R., Dawson, A., Woolven-Allen, J., Redding, J., Burt, A. & Tristem, M. (2005) Genomewide screening reveals high levels of insertional polymorphism in the human endogenous retrovirus family HERV-K(HML2): implications for present day activity. Journal of Virology 79: 12507-12514
- Belshaw, R. Pereira, V. Katzourakis, A., Talbot, G., Paces, J., Burt, A. & Tristem M. (2004) Long-term re-infection of the human genome by endogenous retroviruses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 101: 4894-4899