Mark Chase (1951-)
The main focus of Professor Mark Chase’s research is on
classifying orchids by comparing DNA sequences. These techniques
are now used by scientists all over the world for unravelling
the relationships of plants. A global effort to determine relationships
between all known flowering plants is coordinated by Kew.
Until a few decades ago only the physical appearance and
development of plants guided how taxonomists classified species.
More recently, many sophisticated techniques have refined
the study. Today, genetic analysis enables scientists to
correct ideas of relatedness, and also to deduce the order
in which groups of plants diverged from each other as they
Would you have guessed that orchids and asparagus are closely
related? There have been many discoveries that have generated
great excitement about the power of DNA analysis to reveal
secrets from the distant evolutionary past.
Kew’s DNA researchers are based at the Jodrell Laboratory,
near the Alpine House. Chase, ‘among the most prominent
and successful scientists to have worked at Kew’ in
the words of Peter Crane, has been appointed Keeper of the
Jodrell from August 2006.
Fellow of the Royal Society 2003