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

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 (3) p304-14

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/mpp.12093

McGrann G. R. D., Stavrinides A., Russell J., Corbitt M. M., Booth A., Chartrain L., Thomas W. T., Brown J. K. M. (2014)

A trade off between mlo resistance to powdery mildew and increased susceptibility of barley to a newly important disease, Ramularia leaf spot.

Journal of Experimental Botany 65 (4) p1025-37

Publisher’s version: 10.1093/jxb/ert452

Brown J. K. M., Andrivon D., Collinge D. B., Nicholson P. (2013)

Fitness Costs and Trade-offs in Plant Disease

Plant Pathology 62 (Suppl. 1) p1-1

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/ppa.12124

Brown J. K. M., Rant J. C. (2013)

Fitness costs and trade-offs of disease resistance and their consequences for breeding arable crops

Plant Pathology 62 p 8395.

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/ppa.12163

View All

James Brown

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


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