We analyse the DNA of plants to understand how they resist pests and pathogens.
Globalisation has caused unintentional but rapid spread of insects, bacteria and fungi around the world. Some of these are causing disastrous epidemics in native plant populations.
The plant health research team finds long-term solutions to these pests and pathogens by discovering natural variants of genes that enable plants to overcome them.
We use methods developed in human genomic medicine and evolutionary biology. We have found ash tree genes associated with resistance to ash dieback and the emerald ash borer. These can allow us to predict natural responses to these threats and breed more resistant trees.
We also analyse the genomes of pathogenic fungi, to understand how they attack plants.