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Department of Biosciences

Molecular Plant Sciences

Durham has a long-standing record of research in the plant sciences with the likes of Donald Boulter pioneering plant molecular genetics and David Bellamy promoting public understanding. In the 1980’s and 90’s this grouping discovered and cloned the tripsin inhibitor that naturally protects cow peas against insects. This CpTI gene was subsequently developed in Durham for enhancing insect resistance in other transgenic crops. It has had global impact on crop yield, for example due to the deployment of GM cotton containing CpTI. The transgenic cotton line SGK 321 was approved for commercial growing in China in 1999, and by 2014 Bt/CpTI cotton was grown on ~ 0.5 million hectares of land. The current value of Bt/CpTI cotton is ~ £600 million per year. Underpinning plant science is supported by the Durham Centre for Crop Improvement Technology. Biosciences also houses the Durham Centre for BioImaging Technology with capabilities for visualising living plant cells.

Academic Staff: Dr John Bothwell, Dr Adrian Brennan, Dr Stephen Chivasa, Dr Peter Etchells, Dr Elaine Fitches, Prof. John Gatehouse, Dr Tim Hawkins, Prof. Patrick Hussey, Dr Heather Knight, Prof. Marc Knight, Prof. Keith Lindsey, Dr Junli Liu, Dr Miguel de Lucas,  Prof. Ari Sadanandom, Dr Jen Topping

Affiliated Members: Prof Martin Cann, Dr Wayne Dawson, Dr Ehmke Pohl, Prof. Nigel Robinson

Publications by staff in this group

Journal Article