Dr Judith Irwin

Senior Scientist
Crop Genetics

The aim of Judith's research is to translate fundamental research on the control of flowering from the reference plant Arabidopsis thaliana to Brassica crop species.

Flowering is a key component of plant adaptation, affecting geographical distribution and suitability for farming practices. It is highly relevant to yield, quality and environmental considerations as flowering at the appropriate time ensures best use of the available growing season, promoting sustainability and reducing the need for inputs. 

Judith's focus is the genetic mechanism responsible for variation in vernalization response in Brassica.  Vernalization is important in agriculture, allowing the development of spring and winter sown varieties. 

The Brassicas include species with many morphological forms cultivated for use as vegetables, oils, fodder and condiments. Much of this diversity is attributable to variation in flowering time. By understanding this variation and how it is influenced by a changing climate we aim to facilitate predictive breeding of varieties to suit the UK market. 

JIC scientists remove reliance on seasonality in new line of broccoli – potentially doubling crop production

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Variation in vernalization gene could help us breed more climate resilient brassicas

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Recent Publications

Jones D. M., Wells R., Pullen N., Trick M., Irwin J. A., Morris R. J. (2018)

Spatio-temporal expression dynamics differ between homologues of flowering time genes in the allopolyploid Brassica napus.

Plant Journal

Publisher’s version: 10.1111/tpj.14020

Hepworth J., Antoniou-Kourounioti R. L., Bloomer R. H., Selga C., Berggren K., Cox D., Collier Harris B. R., Irwin J. A., Holm S., Säll T., Howard M., Dean C. (2018)

Absence of warmth permits epigenetic memory of winter in Arabidopsis.

Nature communications 9 p639

Publisher’s version: 10.1038/s41467-018-03065-7

Eckes A. H., Gubala T., Nowakowski P., Szymczyszyn T., Wells R., Irwin J., Horro C., Hancock J. M., King G., Dyer S. C., Jurkowski W. (2017)

Introducing the Brassica Information Portal: Towards integrating genotypic and phenotypic Brassica crop data

F1000 6 p465

Publisher’s version: 10.12688/f1000research.11301.1

Love J., Graham S., Irwin J. A., Ashton P. A., Bretangnolle F., Abbott R. J. (2016)

Self-pollination, style length development and seed set in self-compatible Asteraceae: evidence from Senecio vulgaris L.

Plant Ecology and Diversity 9 p371-379

Publisher’s version: 10.1080/17550874.2016.1244576

Hawkes E. J., Hennelley S. P., Novikova I. V., Irwin J. A., Dean C., Sanbonmatsu K. Y. (2016)

COOLAIR Antisense RNAs Form Evolutionarily Conserved Elaborate Secondary Structures

Cell Reports 16 p3087-3096

Publisher’s version: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.08.045

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Judith Irwin

  • Emily Hawkes Postgraduate Student
  • Eleri Tudor Postgraduate Student
  • Alexander Calderwood Postgraduate Student


For media enquiries, please contact the JIC communications team 01603 450962, jic.communications@jic.ac.uk

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