- We use genetic and genomic techniques to study plant diversity
- We specialise in DNA-based species identification and conservation genomics
The use of molecular markers, i. e. fragments of DNA in a certain location within the genome has revolutionised many areas of biology in the last 25 years.
This has allowed scientists to address questions in plant science which would have been impossible to investigate previously. Researchers at RBGE apply molecular markers to study a wide range of topics such as genetic diversity within species, historical patterns of dispersal (phylogeography), plant taxonomy, hybridisation and species identification (DNA barcoding)and evolutionary relationships between plants (phylogenetics).
RBGE has been a lead collaborator in the research on endangered and emblematic monkey puzzle trees of New Caledonia.
We are also collaborating with local partners to investigate the effects of hybridisation on the native UK flora. In particular, we are interested in the long term evolutionary consequences of hybridisation between the native UK and the introduced ‘Spanish’ bluebell as well as between crab apple and domesticated apple.
Researchers at RBGE are taking a lead to conserve rare and endangered plants such as marsh saxifrage, alpine sow-thistle and oblong woodsia.
We are using DNA barcoding to establish which species of bamboo are consumed by pandas and how this varies in space, seasons, and among individuals.
We have created and update a comprehensive database containing molecular studies which have been carried out on plants native to the UK.
Below you can find the current focuses of our work: