Twenty years of ground-breaking DNA research at Kew
In this audio interview Professor Mark Chase and Professor Dave Simpson talk about the significance of Kew's DNA research and how it has revolutionized the way we understand plants.
Now the oldest and largest of its kind in the world, Kew's DNA Bank safeguards more than 42,000 samples of wild plant DNA, representing some 34,000 species. As well as confirming what many scientists have known for years, Kew's DNA research has also revealed some startling new findings. Did you know, for example, that the papaya is related to the cabbage?
The samples in Kew's DNA Bank are also used by scientists to further plant research and protect plants and habitats at risk, such as those threatened by the effects of climate change. Some of the plant species in Kew's DNA collection - like the St Helena olive - are now believed to be extinct in the wild.