Reproductive biology 96 in systematics, conservation and economic botany

Professor Jack Heslop-Harrison.

This successful conference, held at Kew from 2-5 September 1996, attracted 145 delegates from 22 countries. With 66% of the delegates coming from overseas, it was a highly international event. It is 25 years since the arrival at Kew of its former director Prof. Jack Heslop-Harrison, and Dr Yolande Heslop-Harrison. Both attended the conference held to mark their outstanding contributions to the field. A special lecture by Dr Enrico Coen (Norwich) highlighted the growing importance of developmental genetics for plant systematics. Among other notable themes were new techniques (including the use of pollen allergens in cladograms); new areas (including gymnosperms, Gnetales and Winteraceae); and a new debate on the status of late-acting self-incompatibility and the significance of inbreeding depression and lethal genes for seed formation. Research on plant reproductive biology is clearly important for sustainable agriculture and must focus more on applications in conservation. A symposium volume is in preparation.

Contact: Prof. Mike Bennett (0181-332 5311)

Technology Transfer Workshop

Fluorescing recombinant chromosomes in a cross between Gasteria (yellow) and Aloe (red). ISH by Dr Chigusa Takahashi from Japan.

Ten scientists (two sponsored by NERC) from six countries (including Norway, Brazil and Korea) attended a second workshop on in situ hybridization (ISH) to plant chromosomes - 'a practical introduction to its uses in biosystematics' from 9-12 September in Kew's Jodrell Laboratory.

Contact: Dr Ilia Leitch (0181-332 5329)


Kew was well represented at the annual meeting of the American Institute for Biological Sciences, held in Seattle, 4-8 August 1996. The Director was guest speaker at a lunch given by the Economic Botany Section of the Botanical Society of America. The Director, Dr Mark Chase, Dr Mike Fay and several short-term staff, students and visitors attended the meeting and were authors or co-authors of 17 papers -Mark gave two papers and co-authored 14 others. Four people who have undertaken molecular systematics research at Kew (Amy Litt and Drs Ken Cameron, Warren Hauk, Paul Kores) received awards at the meeting.

Contact: Dr Mark Chase (0181-332 5364)


The world's largest ever exhibition devoted to fungi, 'Fungus 100' (at the Royal Horticultural Society, 26-28 September 1996), was part of the centenary celebrations of the British Mycological Society. Staff from Kew's Mycology Section and Centre for Economic Botany manned a six-metre exhibit displaying several aspects of mycological research at Kew and promoting Kew's mycological publications such as British Puffballs, Stinkhorns and Earthstars and Poisonous Fungi in Britain & Ireland.

Contact: Dr David Pegler (0181-332 5257

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