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Brian Fenton

Staff picture: Brian Fenton
Ecological Sciences
+44 (0)844 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK

Current research interests 

  • International and national work in pest arthropod genetics and biology. Honorary Lecturer at Dundee University responsible for developing teaching modules for BSc (Agricultural Zoology) and MRes (Environmental Genomics) courses at Dundee and St Andrews Universities. Contact for both core and flexible fund grants. Current research profile is varied, reflecting a range of projects and activities. Work includes generating expressed sequence tags (ESTs) and isolating the ribosomal spacer region from the aphid Myzus persicae. Collaboration is underway with other international laboratories in the analysis and submission of these ESTs to GenBank. Collaboration in IGS spacer research with Elena Gorokhova’s laboratory in Sweden. Collaborators include the insecticide resistance group at Rothamsted Research (including membership of IRAG), the aphid monitoring group at SASA, and Dr Andy Evans of SAC.
  • The molecular research is helping understand the success of aphid superclones. The Scottish M. persicae population has been studied using molecular markers to define clones and superclones. The work has already demonstrated a severe genetic bottleneck with less than 20 major clones in the UK. These clones are the subject of physiological studies and the findings will link to the molecular studies. Other work includes laboratory and field virus epidemiology studies. Field work is assessing the utility of local crop mixtures in interfering with aphid borne virus transmission. The epidemiology field site is being used to assess the impact of these crop production methods on small mammal populations. 

Past research 

  • Previous projects at SCRI included an examination of the roles of the insecticidal lectin GNA in insects and mammals. More information on this work is in The Lancet Letter (101 KB).
  • 1990-1993 - CRC-Cell Cycle Genetics Group (Director: Professor David Glover), Biochemistry Department, Dundee University.
  • 1990-1993 - MRC Post-Doctoral Fellow.
  • 1990-1993 - Keynote publication - Nature 363, 637-640 #30.
  • 1981-1990 - Protozoan Genetics Unit (Director: Professor David Walliker), Genetics Department, Edinburgh University.
  • 1981-1990 - Pre and Post-Doctoral Research Assistant.
  • 1981-1990 - 14 publications.
  • 1981-1990 - Keynote publication - Molecular and Cellular Biology 11, 963-971 #35.


  • Kerchev, P., Fenton, B., Foyer, C.H. & Hancock, R.D. 2012.  Plant responses to insect herbivory: interactions between photosynthesis, reactive oxygen species and hormonal signalling pathways (Review).  Plant Cell and Environment 35, 441-453.
    Project No:  7019

  • Kerchev, P., Fenton, B., Foyer, C.H. & Hancock, R.D. 2012.  Infestation of potato (Solanum tuberosum L.) by the peach-potato aphid (Myzus persicae Sulzer) alters cellular redox status and is influenced by ascorbate.  Plant Cell and Environment 35, 430-440.
    Project No:  7019

  • Kerchev, P., Morris, J., Karpinska, B., Hedley, P.E., Fenton, B., Foyer, C.H. & Hancock, R.D. 2012.  Low ascorbate promotes aphid resistance in Arabidopsis thaliana via AB14 mediated repression of jasmonic acid signalling.  New Phytologist (submitted).
    Project No:  7019

  • Van Toor, R.F., Malloch, G.L., Anderson, E.A., Dawson, G. & Fenton, B. 2012.  Insecticide resistance profiles can be misleading in predicting survival of Myzus persicae genotypes on potato crops following application of different insecticide classes.  Pest Management Science (in press).
    Project No:  5962; 6026

  • The International Aphid Genomics Consortium. 2010. Genome Sequence of the Pea Aphid Acyrthosiphon pisum. PLoS Biology 8(2): e1000313. (doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000313)
  • Fenton, B., Kasprowicz, L., Malloch, G. and Pickup, J. 2010. Reproductive performance of asexual clones of the peach–potato aphid (Myzus persicae, Homoptera: Aphididae) colonising Scotland in relation to host plant and field ecology. Bulletin of Entomological Research (in press).
  • Srinivasan, D., Fenton. B., Jaubert-Possamai, S. 2010. Analysis of meiosis and cell cycle genes of the facultatively asexual pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum (Hemiptera: Aphididae). Insect Molecular Biology (Pea Aphid Genome Special Issue) (in press).
  • Fenton, B., Margaritopoulos, J.T., Malloch, G.L. and Foster, S.P. 2009. Micro-evolutionary change in relation to insecticide resistance in the peach-potato aphid, Myzus persicae. Ecological Entomology (Darwin Special Issue), 35, 131-146.
  • Margaritopoulos, J.T., Kasprowicz, L., Malloch, G. and Fenton, B. 2009. Tracking the global dispersal of a cosmopolitan insect pest, the peach potato aphid. BMC Ecology 2009, 9: 13.
  • Fenton, B., Malloch, G., Flynn, A. and Van Toor, R. 2009. Progress in field diagnostics for potato virus detection and epidemiology. Aspects of Applied Biology 94, 27-30.
  • Van Toor, R., Malloch, G. and Fenton, B. 2009. A concept for management of virus-vectors and insecticide resistance in Myzus persicae on potatoes. Redia XCII, 2009 (in press).
  • Fenton, B., Malloch, G., Woodford, J.A.T., Foster, S.P., Anstead, J., Denholm, I., King L. and Pickup J. 2005. The Attack of the Clones: Tracking the Movement of Insecticide Resistant Peach Potato Aphids (Myzus persicae). Bulletin of Entomological Research 95, 483-494.
  • Malloch, G. and Fenton, B. 2005. Super-infections of Wolbachia in byturid beetles and evidence for genetic recombination in Wolbachia. Molecular Ecology 14, 627–637.
  • Oliveira, C.M.G., Fenton, B., Malloch, G., Brown, D.J.F. and Neilson, R. 2004. Development of species-specific primers for the ectoparasitic nematode species Xiphinema brevicolle, X. diffusum, X. elongatum, X. ifacolum and X. longicaudatum (Nematoda: Longidoridae) based on ribosomal DNA sequences. Annals of Applied Biology 146, 281-288.
  • Oliveira, C.M.G., Ferraz, L.C.C.B., Monteiro, A.R., Fenton, B., Malloch, G. and Neilson, R. 2004. Molecular and morphometric analyses of Xiphidorus species (Nematoda: Longidoridae). Nematology 6, 715-728.
  • Ritchie, A., Blackwell, A., Malloch, G. and Fenton, B. 2004. Heterogeneity of ITS1 sequences in the biting midge, Culicoides impunctatus (L.), suggests a population in Argyll, Scotland may be genetically distinct. Genome 47, 546–558.

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  • Phone: +44 (0)844 928 5428
  • Craigiebuckler Aberdeen AB15 8QH Scotland
  • Invergowrie Dundee DD2 5DA Scotland
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The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.