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Joanne Russell

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Staff picture: Joanne Russell
Cell and Molecular Sciences
+44 (0)844 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK

Current research interests 

Research over the past 15 years has focussed on the use of molecular markers to address a wide range of genetic and biological issues in a range of plant species, including conservation, habitat fragmentation, comparative genome analysis and mapping studies.

Diversity and association analysis in barley

Recently we have begun to explore diversity in barley at the gene level by exploiting genomics and informatics technologies via EU and Generation Challenge Program funding, collaborating with European and North American groups and colleagues at the International Centre for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA).

Marker development in temperate and tropical tree species

Several studies focussing on comparative genomics and the development of polymorphic markers (SNPs) for adaptive variation in economically important European tree species have been funded through EU collaborations. Research has also been carried out on tropical tree species including, Calycophyllum spruceanum, Theobroma cacoa and Cocos nucifera, as well as important indigenous fruit trees, Prunus Africana and Allanblackia species from sub-Saharan Africa. Much of this work has been in collaboration with colleagues at World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF).

Conservation and habitat fragmentation

Sequencing and developing gene-based markers in species of high conservation priority offer novel insights into biodiversity, including relating sequence diversity and biological function. Focus of this work is on biodiversity within Scotland and includes a wide-range of plant species including: sub-arctic willow scrub, which is essentially restricted to the Scottish mountains; the rare species Anastrophyllum joergensenii, a dioecious leafy liverwort restricted to cool montane high-rainfall areas; Athyrium distentifolium, a diploid out-crossing fern of montane areas; Koenigia islandica, a diminutive annual and; Scots pine along with associated ground flora. Collaborations are with the Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh and the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh.


  • Stamati K., Hollingsworth P.M., and Russell J. 2007. Patterns of clonal diversity in three species of sub-arctic willow (Salix lanata, Salix lapponum and Salix herbacea). Plant Systematics and Evolution 269, 75-88.
  • Powell, W., Waugh, R., Bradshaw, J.E., Russell, J.R. and Ramsay, L. 2006. Introduction to classical genetics and plant breeding. In: Christou, P. and Klee, H. (eds.). Handbook of Plant Biotechnology. 2nd ed. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, Chichester, 3-29.
  • Varshney, R.K., Marcel, T.C., Ramsay, L., Russell, J.R., Roder, M., Stein, N., Waugh, R., Langridge, P., Niks, R. and Graner, A. 2006. A high density barley microsatellite consensus map with 777 SSR loci. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 114, 1091-1098.
  • Caldwell, K.S., Russell, J., Langridge, P. and Powell, W. 2006. Extreme Population-Dependent Linkage Disequilibrium Detected in an Inbreeding Plant Species, Hordeum vulgare. Genetics 172, 557–567.
  • Woodhead, M., Russell, J.R., Squirrell, J., Hollingsworth, P.M., Mackenzie, K., Gibby, M. and Powell, W. 2005. Comparative analysis of population genetic structure in Athyrium distentifolium (Pteridophyta) using AFLPs and SSRs from anonymous and transcribed gene regions. Molecular Ecology 14, 1681-1696.
  • Saari, S.K., Campbell, C.D., Russell, J.R., Alexander, I.J. and Anderson, I.C. 2005. Pine microsatellite markers allow roots and ectomycorrhizas to be linked to individual trees. New Phytologist 165, 295-304.
  • Rostoks, N., Mudie, S., Cardle, L., Russell, J.R., Ramsay, L., Booth, A., Svensson, J.T., Wanamaker, S., Walia, H., Rodriguez, E.M., Hedley, P.E., Liu, H., Morris, J., Close, T.J., Marshall, D.F. and Waugh, R. 2005. Genome wide SNP discovery and linkage analysis in barley based on genes responsive to abiotic stress. Molecular Genetics and Genomics 274, 515-527.
  • Nevo, E., Beharav, A., Meyer, R.C., Hackett, C.A., Forster, B.P., Russell, J.R. and Powell, W. 2005.  Genomic microsatellite adaptice divergence of wild barley by microclimatic stress in 'Evolution Canyon', Israel. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 84, 205-224.
  • Squirrell, J., Woodhead, M., Hollingsworth, P.M., Russell, J.R., Gibby, M. and Powell, W. 2004. Isolation of polymorphic microsatellite markers for the Alpine Lady Fern, Athyrium distentifolium Tausch ex Opiz, from an enriched genomic library. Conservation Genetics 5, 283-286.

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  • Phone: +44 (0)844 928 5428
  • Craigiebuckler Aberdeen AB15 8QH Scotland
  • Invergowrie Dundee DD2 5DA Scotland
A Scottish charitable company limited by guarantee. Registered in Scotland No SC374831.
Registered office: The James Hutton Institute, Invergowrie Dundee DD2 5DA. Charity No SCO41796

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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.