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

John Innes Centre scientists solve 60 year old Septoria mystery

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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

Menguer P., Vincent T., Miller A. J., Brown J. K. M., Vincze E., Borg S., Holm P. B., Sanders D., Podar D. (2017)

Improving zinc accumulation in barley endosperm using HvMTP1, a transition metal transporter.

Plant Biotechnology Journal Plant Biotechnol J. 2017 Apr 24. doi: 10.1111/pbi.12749. [Epub ahead of print] pdoi: 10.1111/pbi.12749

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/pbi.12749

Orton E., Brown J. K. M., Rudd J. J. (2016)

Early molecular signatures of responses of wheat to Zymoseptoria tritici in compatible and incompatible interactions

Plant Pathology - p-

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/ppa.12633

Arraiano L. S., Brown J. K. (2016)

Sources of resistance and susceptibility to Septoria tritici blotch of wheat.

Molecular plant pathology 18 p276-292

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/mpp.12482

Mair W., Lopez-Ruiz F., Stammler G., Clark W., Burnett F., Hollomon D., Ishii H., Thind T. S., Brown J. K., Fraaije B., Cools H., Shaw M., Fillinger S., Walker A. S., Mellado E., Schnabel G., Mehl A., Oliver R. P. (2016)

Proposal for a unified nomenclature for target-site mutations associated with resistance to fungicides.

Pest management science 72 p1449-59

Publisher’s version: 10.1002/ps.4301

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

View All

James Brown

  • Dr Laetitia Chartrain Research Assistant
  • Rachel Burns Research Assistant
  • Dr Elizabeth Orton Postdoctoral Scientist
  • Corinne Arnold Postgraduate Student


For media enquiries, please contact the JIC communications team 01603 450962,

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