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James Hutton Institute
My research explores areas of biology that are academically and practically important. I develop and apply approaches to enable genetic and genomic analysis for exploring a wide range of issues related to plant biology.
This revolves around assembling germplasm that is suited to understand the underlying genetics of important traits; developing molecular tools and approaches that facilitate high resolution genetic analysis; and contributing to international efforts to derive a reference barley genome sequence. This led to the development of a Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNPs) platform that helps determine the genetic basis for phenotypic traits.
This platform is used extensively by the European and North American Barley community. We are using genetically mapped gene markers to examine Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms (SNP) diversity in geographically matched collections of locally adapted crops and their wild relatives in the Fertile Crescent. Additionally we have combined this genetic data with environmental niche modelling to examine evolution and domestication in barley. By combining modelling approaches with the powerful genomics tools helps us explore the genetics of fitness and adaptation that could inform the design of crops more resilient to future environmental disturbances.