Ash dieback disease
We are mapping inheritance of reduced susceptibility to ash dieback disease and emerald ash borer.
Ash Dieback Disease, caused by the fungal pathogen Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, is now widespread in the UK, and a serious problem affecting many of our ash trees.
We are using genetic analysis techniques such as Associative Transcriptomics to map the inheritance of the reduced susceptibility to the disease exhibited by a small proportion of trees, which is helping to uncover the potential mechanisms conferring immunity, as well as identifying genetic markers that can be used to select tolerant trees.
Recently we expanded our work to begin exploring resistance against another important threat to European ash populations, the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. As this pest has the potential to cause even more damage to already depleted ash populations, we are applying some of the tools developed in our Ash Dieback work to develop new breeding targets for combatting Emerald Ash Borer.
Project activities and publications
Dr Andrea Harper
Dr Harper's research focuses on developing statistical genetics approaches which are capable of associating trait variation with different types of genetic markers and flexible enough to be adapted to a range of plant species.
Professor Ian Bancroft
Professor Bancroft is an expert in plant genomics who formerly worked at the John Innes Centre in Norwich.