Dr Natalia Przelomska

Postdoctoral Researcher

Natalia Przelomska

Accelerated Taxonomy


Integrated Monography


Conservation genomics, plant domestication, medicinal plants, archaeogenomics

As a postdoc in biodiversity genomics in the Antonelli Lab group, my research involves genomic resource generation and analysis, in the context of conservation biology. 

My current primary focus are the medicinally valuable, alkaloid-producing South American plants: Cinchona spp (the fever tree), a renowned source of malaria-combatting quinolines) and coca (Erythroxylum coca and E. novograntense, plants of great cultural and medicinal relevance to Indigenous Peoples). 

My keen interest in understanding evolution of plants in a human context is reflected in my work on the genomics of plant domestication; alongside South American medicinal plants, I continue to pursue collaborative research on edible crop plants of the Americas and Eurasia. 

This involves genomic analysis of samples from archaeological contexts (ancient DNA), herbaria and museum collections. We aim to elucidate the adaptation of these major and minor crops to an anthropogenic environment, their routes of geographical dispersal, their adaptive potential and relationships with crop wild relatives. 

Plant domestication is a fascinating system for deepening our understanding of evolutionary phenomena and characterising the biodiversity of crop species is highly relevant to food security. 

Furthermore, as a researcher under Kew’s Accelerated Taxonomy priority, I am involved in expanding Kew’s Plant and Fungal Trees of Life (PAFTOL) and in disentangling relationships between species. 

I have a particular interest in the family Orchidaceae and am a collaborator on phylogenomic and conservation genomic work concerning Neotropical orchids led by Dr. Oscar Pérez-Escobar. 

I am assisting on a research project funded by the Swiss Orchid Foundation, concerning orchid diversity in the Dominican Republic, Hispaniola, an island which is characterised by high endemism but that is simultaneously experiencing multiple threats to local ecosystems. 

  • Smithsonian Institution Peter Buck Postdoctoral Fellow 2017-2019
  • PhD Genetics in Archaeology, University of Cambridge, 2017
  • MRes Ecology, Evolution and Conservation and DIC, Imperial College, 2011
  • BSc Biology, Royal Holloway University of London, 2010

Simon, M. F., Mendoza Flores, J. M., Liu, H. L., et al. (2022)

Phylogenomic analysis points to a South American origin of Manihot and illuminates the primary gene pool of cassava.

New Phytologist 233: 534-545. 

Przelomska, N.A.S., Armstrong, C.G., & Kistler, L. (2020)

Ancient plant DNA as a window into the cultural heritage and biodiversity of our food system.

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution 8: 74. 

Hunt, H.V., Oliveira, H.R., Lister, D.L., Clarke, A.C. & Przelomska, N.A. (2018)

The Geography of Crop Origins and Domestication: Changing Paradigms from Evolutionary Genetics.

McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research 

Kistler, L., Maezumi, S.Y., De Souza, J.G., Przelomska, N.A., et al. (2018)

Multiproxy evidence highlights a complex evolutionary legacy of maize in South America.

Science 362:1309-13. 

Lightfoot, E., Przelomska, N., Craven, M., et al. (2016).

Intraspecific carbon and nitrogen isotopic variability in foxtail millet (Setaria italica).

Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 30:1475-87.

Jackson, H.A., Bunbury, N., Przelomska, N. & Groombridge, J.J. (2016).

Evolutionary distinctiveness and historical decline in genetic diversity in the Seychelles Black Parrot Coracopsis nigra barklyi.

Ibis 158:380-94.

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