Professor Richard J A Buggs

Senior Research Leader


Natural Capital and Plant Health


Plant Health


Genetics, Genomics, Evolution, Disease resistance

Biography Plus

I lead the Plant Health research group at Kew. My research uses evolutionary genomics methods to understand the basis of pest and pathogen susceptibility of plants. My largest project is on the genomics of ash tree species, seeking genes for low susceptibility to ash dieback and the emerald ash borer. My students also work on birch tree genetics in the context of climate change. I have recently started a project on disease and stress tolerance in hazelnut. I am a Professor of Evolutionary Genomics at Queen Mary University of London where I also have a research group and teach an MSc module. I am based in the Jodrell Lab at Kew four days a week, and spend one day per week at Queen Mary University of London.

Qualifications and appointments Plus
  • Professor of Evolutionary Genomics, Queen Mary University of London
  • Fellow of the Linnean Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • NERC Peer Review College member
  • DPhil, University of Oxford, 2005
  • BA (1st class), University of Cambridge, 2000
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology
  • Editor: Plants People Planet
Selected publications Plus

Elizabeth S. A. Sollars, Andrea L. Harper, Laura J. Kelly, Christine M. Sambles, Ricardo H. Ramirez-Gonzalez, David Swarbreck, Gemy Kaithakottil, Endymion D. Cooper, Cristobal Uauy, Lenka Havlickova, Gemma Worswick, David J. Studholme, Jasmin Zohren, Deborah L. Salmon, Bernardo J. Clavijo, Yi Li, Zhesi He, Alison Fellgett, Lea Vig McKinney, Lene Rostgaard Nielsen, Gerry C. Douglas, Erik Dahl Kjær, J. Allan Downie, David Boshier, Steve Lee, Jo Clark, Murray Grant, Ian Bancroft, Mario Caccamo & Richard J. A. Buggs (2017)

Genome sequence and genetic diversity of European ash trees

Nature 541: 212–216. Available online

Zohren, J., Wang, N., Kardailsky, I., Borrell, J. S., Joecker, A., Nichols, R. A., & Buggs, R. J. A. (2016)

Unidirectional diploid-tetraploid introgression among British birch trees with shifting ranges shown by RAD markers

Molecular Ecology 25: 2413–2426. Available online

Buggs, R. J. A., Wendel, J. F., Doyle, J. J., Soltis, D. E., Soltis, P. S. & Coate, J. (2014)

The legacy of diploid progenitors in allopolyploid gene expression patterns

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 369. Available online

Maryam Rafiqi, Diane Saunders, Mark McMullan, Richard Oliver, Ruth Bone, Helen Fones, Sarah Gurr, Delphine Vincent, Timothy Coker and Richard J. A. Buggs (2018)

Plant-killers: Fungal threats to ecosystems

In: K. J. Willis (ed.), State of the World’s Fungi. Report. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. pp. 56–61

James S. Borrell, Nian Wang, Richard A. Nichols and Richard J. A. Buggs (2018)

Genetic diversity maintained among fragmented populations of a tree undergoing range contraction

Heredity 121:304–318

Elizabeth S. A. Sollars and Richard J. A. Buggs (2018)

Genome-wide epigenetic variation among ash trees differing in susceptibility to a fungal disease

BMC Genomics 19:502

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Richard Buggs' work at Queen Mary University of London