Prof James Brown

Project Leader
Crop Genetics

There is a constant struggle between plants and their parasites: as plants evolve to become resistant to disease, parasites evolve to overcome that resistance. Consequently, crops in agriculture are exposed to a constantly changing population of different genotypes and species of parasites.

My group's research relates to the need to produce new crop varieties with elite standards of yield and quality and acceptable, all-round disease resistance. Much of our research concerns trade-offs between responses to different diseases and between disease resistance and other desirable traits, while we also research processes by which plants and parasites coevolve to become adapted to one another.

We work on several diseases, as appropriate for the research in question. Most of our work is on fungal pathogens of cereals, especially powdery mildew of barley and wheat, septoria tritici blotch of wheat and ramularia leaf spot of barley. Our research on coevolution uses of mathematical and computer modelling.


Tel: 01603 450615

Link between drought tolerance and resistance to leaf spot resistance identified

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New research projects announced to help save UK forests, woods and trees

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Ramularia and the four ‘Rs’

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Recent Publications

Creissen H. E., Jorgensen T. H., Brown J. K. M. (2016)

Increased yield stability of field-grown winter barley (Hordeum vulgare L.) varietal mixtures through ecological processes

Crop Protection 85 p1-8

Publisher’s version: doi:10.1016/j.cropro.2016.03.001

Walter S., Ali S., Kemen E., Nazari K., Bahri B. A., Enjalbert J., Hansen J. G., Brown J. K. M., Sicheritz-Ponten T., Jones J., de Valllavielle-Pope C., Hovmoller M. S., Justesen A. F. (2016)

Molecular markers for tracking the origin and worldwide distribution of invasive strains of Puccinia striiformis

Ecology and Evolution

Publisher’s version: 10.1002/ece3.2069

Amselem J., Vigouroux M., Oberhaensli S., Brown J. K. M., Bindschedler L. V., Skamnioti P., Wicker T., Spanu P. D., Quesneville H., Sacristán S. (2015)

Evolution of the EKA family of powdery mildew avirulence-effector genes from the ORF 1 of a LINE retrotransposon.

BMC Genomics 16 p917

Publisher’s version: 10.1186/s12864-015-2185-x

McGrann G. R. D., Steed A., Burt C., Goddard R., LaChaux C., Bansal A., Corbitt M., Gornial K., Nicholson P., Brown J. K. M. (2014)

Contribution of the drought tolerance-related Stress-responsive NAC 1 transcription factor to resistance of barley to Ramularia leaf spot

Molecular Plant Pathology

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/mpp.12173

Troch V., Audenaert K., Wyand R. A., Haesaert G., Höfte M., Brown J. K. M. (2014)

Formae speciales of cereal powdery mildew: close or distant relatives?

Molecular Plant Pathology 15 p304-14

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/mpp.12093

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James Brown

  • Ben Gibson Lab Attendant
  • Rachel Burns Lab Attendant
  • Raghvendra Sharma Postgraduate Student
  • Corinne Arnold Postgraduate Student
  • Dr Elizabeth Orton Postgraduate Student
  • Chris Judge Postgraduate Student
  • Dr Laetitia Chartrain Research Assistant
  • Dr Anuradha Bansal Postgraduate Student
  • Flandin Guillaume MSc Student


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