George Burton

PhD Student

George Burton

Accelerated Taxonomy


Intergrated Monography


Crops, cereals, food security, genetics, taxonomy.

I am interested in how orphan crops might hold the key to improving food security, particularly in light of climate change. Using a genetics-based approach, I am investigating the evolutionary relationships of the grass genus Digitaria, a globally-distributed group that contains many important food and forage crops, and noxious weeds. This knowledge of their relatedness will inform us on how advantageous traits might be encouraged and bred as part of growth trials, and a taxonomic understanding of the group can be shared, to enable farmers to better manage crops and weeds on their lands. Further experiments involving seed germination will allow us to create models predicting climate resilience, allowing selection for the strongest crops of the future. Before this project I previously completed my MSc researching naturally antibacterial replacements for livestock antibiotics for use in the UK under different climate growing conditions, and have also worked on the taxonomy of the group Myrcia sect. Calyptranthes, contributing to the Flora of Brazil project.

  • MSc Plant and Fungal Taxonomy, Diversity and Conservation - Kew Gardens and QMUL (2019)
  • BA Classics - University of Bristol (2018)

Lourenco, A. R., Burton, G. P., Alves, M., & Lucas, E. (2020).

Myrcia sect. Calyptranthes (Myrtaceae) from the Atlantic Forest, Brazil. 

Phytotaxa, 460: 12-58.

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George Burton