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Bennett, Michael D.

Job title: 

Honorary Research Fellow

Honorary Research Fellow
Joined Kew: 


Qualifications and appointments: 
  • BSc (Hons), University College of Wales Aberystwyth, 1965
  • PhD, University College of Wales Aberystwyth, 1968.
  • Order of the British Empire
  • Visiting Professor, School of Plant Sciences, University of Reading (1989-2007)
  • Honorary Professor, School of Pure and Applied Biology, University of Wales, Cardiff (1989-2003).
  • Fellow of University of Wales, Aberystwyth
  • Member of Annals of Botany Company
  • Chairman of Annals of Botany Company (2006-2008)
  • University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Board of Visitors (2004-2008)

Research is focused on holistic genomics to improve understanding of the organisation, behaviour and evolution of genomes and their chromosomes.

Research ranged widely over plant karyogenomics since 1963.  Work on nuclear DNA and angiosperms has focused on: (1) genome size evolution, (2) reproductive cell biology; (3) higher order genome organisation, and (4) biosystematics.  Work at Kew aims to describe and improve understanding of the extent, nature and significance of variation in nuclear DNA amount (DNA C-value and genome size) as fundamental biodiversity characters in flowering plants and other embryophyta.  It continues to explore their adaptive significance for plant distribution and behaviour, and to develop the nucleotype hypothesis as a unifying concept, testing its predictive value.  The work has produced the ‘Plant DNA C-values database', greatly improving its taxonomic, geographic and phytoformic representation.  Other interests are: polyploidy and wide hybrids, and work to develop and use chromosome painting techniques as powerful tools in plant biosystematic research.

Selected publications: 

Whitney, K.D., Baack, E.J., Hamrick, J.L., Godt, M.J.W., Barringer, B.C., Bennett, M.D., Eckert, C.G., Goodwillie, C., Kalisz, S., Leitch, I.J. & Ross-Ibarra, J. (2010). A role for nonadaptive processes in plant genome size evolution? Evolution 64: 2097-2109.

Bennett, M.D., Price, H.J. & Johnston, S. (2008). Anthocyanin inhibits propidium iodide DNA fluorescence in Euphorbia pulcherrima: Implications for genome size variation and flow cytometry. Annals of Botany 101: 777-790.

Gregory, T.R., Nicol, J.A., Tamm, H., Kullman, B., Kullman, K., Leitch, I.J., Murray, B.G., Kapraun, D.F., Greilhuber, J. & Bennett, M.D. (2007). Eukaryotic genome size databases. Nucleic Acids Research 35: (database issue) d332-d338.