Dr Judith Irwin

Senior Scientist Genes in the Environment

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.