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Cell and Molecular Sciences

October 10, 2021
The latest issue of Hutton Highlights, our quarterly review showing how Hutton science is driving the sustainable use of land and natural resources, is now available from our Hutton Highlights pages. Our October 2021 issue includes:
October 10, 2021
The Mylnefield Trust have awarded the inaugural John Hillman Scholarship to Jessica Shadbolt, a PhD student at the James Hutton Institute, for research on barley breeding. The new scholarship celebrates the life and achievements of Professor...
August 8, 2021
Crop pathogens like Phytophthora infestans – the origin of several European potato famines in the 19th century - still cause US$300bn worth of damage to global crop production each year and continue to threaten world food security.
April 4, 2021
Plant scientists at the James Hutton Institute are studying the evolution of late blight in potato by working with industry and research partners to track the distribution and diversity of dominant clones in Europe in 2020, and have also...
February 2, 2021
Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and partner institutions are set to explore previously undiscovered mechanisms through which the pathogen responsible for late blight in potato, Phytophthora infestans, breaks through cell walls to infect...
February 2, 2021
To mark the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, the James Hutton Institute is highlighting its ‘Women in Science’ booklet, which spotlights the roles of 21 of its 204 female scientists. The collection illustrates some of...
January 1, 2021
Increased demand in berries across Europe meets the challenges brought on by climate change, environmental preservation and the need for new cultivation systems as well as high-quality produce. The new research project BreedingValue, a European...
January 1, 2021
2021 is the United Nations' International Year of Fruits and Vegetables, bringing public attention to the key role of fruit and vegetables in human nutrition, food security and health – all key strands of work at the James Hutton...
November 11, 2020
New opportunities for PhD projects at the James Hutton Institute are now being advertised on FindAPhD.com. PhD projects are being offered by all five of our science departments covering many aspects of our work. All projects are funded jointly...
September 9, 2020
Scotland’s plants underpin the health of the nation, but plant pests and diseases can cause major economic, environmental, and social costs. Increased global movements of plants and soil, coupled with the effects of climate change, are...
August 8, 2020
The James Hutton Institute is pleased to support the National Biofilms Innovation Centre's #BiofilmAware campaign, which aims to raise awareness of biofilms and their importance for our everyday lives.
August 8, 2020
Scientists at the James Hutton Institute and partner organisations are working to understand the interactions between pathogen Pectobacterium atrosepticum and an array of soil-microbe-crop interactions in the development of blackleg,...
April 4, 2020
Plant viruses can be just as devastating for agricultural crops and the security of food supply as some of the world's most notorious viruses, SARS-CoV-2 among them, have been for the human population.  Plant viruses can be useful as...
March 3, 2020
Potato is a key food and cash crop contributing both to food security and the local economy in Kenya, Malawi and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. However, crops in the region are frequently affected by low yields and plant pest and diseases, with...
March 3, 2020
An international consortium including the James Hutton Institute which tracks the European spatial distribution of Phytophthora infestans, the plant pathogen responsible for potato late blight, has updated the distribution of the pathogen by...
March 3, 2020
Professor Lesley Torrance, Director of Science at the James Hutton Institute, has been made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh (RSE), a body which contributes to the social, cultural and economic wellbeing of Scotland through the...
February 2, 2020
Dr Isabelle Colas, a scientist of the International Barley Hub, has been awarded a New Investigator grant worth £400k by UK Research and Innovation to explore a genetic pathway to improved barley crops, with the ultimate aim of helping...
January 1, 2020
2020 is the International Year of Plant Health and Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, bringing public attention to two huge global challenges and for good reason, say scientists at the James Hutton Institute.
December 12, 2019
The experiences of three Hutton members of staff who have chosen Scotland as a place to live and work have been highlighted by their designation as Talent Ambassadors by TalentScotland, part of Scottish Enterprise, the country’s economic...
September 9, 2019
A recent workshop co-organised by the Earlham Institute and the Catholic University of Santa María gathered plant scientists from Peru and the UK to discuss the application of 'omic' technologies for the research of crop...
July 7, 2019
Potatoes have been a staple of Britain’s diet for half a millennium, but new research suggests that limited genetic differences in potato lineages has left British and American spuds vulnerable to the disease that caused the Irish potato...
July 7, 2019
Projected global population growth requires food production to increase by 70% before 2050 to meet demand. Pests and diseases are a major constraint to providing this food security: between 30-40% of our crops are lost to pathogens long before...
July 7, 2019
Scientists of the James Hutton Institute have discussed the latest research on arable crops as part of the launch of new event Arable Scotland, including renewed breeding efforts aimed at developing quality crops for defined markets, innovative...
June 6, 2019
The SEFARI student showcase, an event which shows the diversity and excellence of postgraduate research undertaken across all SEFARI research institutes, took place between the 10th and 11th June, with James Hutton Institute student Auré...
May 5, 2019
Temperature has a pronounced effect on the formation of potato tubers: when temperature is too high, potato plants form less or no tubers, which can greatly decrease yields. Scientists at the Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen Nuremberg (...
March 3, 2019
The complex landscape of plants and microbe interaction means that food safety specialists should consider fine detail and cannot generalise when carrying out risk assessments, new research by James Hutton Institute scientists has shown. Fresh...
March 3, 2019
A Knowledge Transfer Partnership between the James Hutton Institute and Scottish-based agritech business Intelligent Growth Solutions Limited (IGS), has been distinguished with the highest grade of “Outstanding” by the Knowledge...
March 3, 2019
Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and partner organisations are working to understand the mechanisms behind senescent sweetening, a problem responsible for considerable losses of potato crops during storage, particularly in the processing...
January 1, 2019
On Burns Night, let’s raise a dram to better barley: scientists based at the International Barley Hub in Dundee have developed a genotyping array that allows the detailed genetic characterisation of any individual barley variety. The array...
November 11, 2018
Hutton Android app Buntata has been featured in the first issue of Global Potato News, a newly launched international business-to-business magazine serving the entire potato industry from farm to fork. Originally unveiled in 2017 and named...
November 11, 2018
Scientists at the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with colleagues of the University of Dundee, Huazhong Agricultural University, Heilongjiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences (both China) and Wageningen University (Netherlands), have...
November 11, 2018
New opportunities for PhD projects at the James Hutton Institute are now being advertised on FindAPhD.com. PhD projects are being offered by all five of our Science Groups covering many aspects of our work. All projects are funded jointly between...
October 10, 2018
The James Hutton Institute's Information and Computational Sciences group have announced a web version of Buntata, the free mobile application launched last year to help potato growers identify plant pests and diseases in the field....
October 10, 2018
An improved technique for capturing DNA in crops may give plant breeders huge advantages when it comes to developing varieties that are more resilient to pests and diseases. The technique, known as diagnostic Resistance gene enrichment Sequencing...
August 8, 2018
Scientists from the James Hutton Institute are investigating the development of resilient flavour characteristics in UK raspberries, as part of Innovate UK-funded research into new fruit breeding models and decision support tools.
August 8, 2018
Research at the James Hutton Institute has led to the discovery of genetic variations which can help protect potato crop yields at high temperature, potentially providing potato breeders with a valuable tool in their quest to create varieties...
June 6, 2018
Research by a group of scientists from the University of Dundee and the James Hutton Institute, along with partners from Glasgow and Durham universities, has found that a genetic process known as alternative splicing has a massive effect on the...
May 5, 2018
More than 60 experts and stakeholders from the diverse worlds of forestry, horticulture, the environment and agriculture gathered at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh to hear about the aims and vision of a new virtual Plant Health Centre for...
May 5, 2018
Scientists from the James Hutton Institute are supporting an industry-led Innovate UK project aimed at improving food safety standards in potato, cereal, bread and other food products. The £1.99m initiative, led by Industrial Technology...
April 4, 2018
The James Hutton Institute's Information and Computational Sciences group has announced a new version of Buntata, a free Android app to help potato growers identify plant pests and diseases in the field. Produced with support from the...
March 3, 2018
Potato is a key food and cash crop contributing both to food security and the local economy in Kenya, Malawi and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. Scientists from the James Hutton Institute in collaboration with the University of St Andrews are...
February 2, 2018
As the world’s population tries to adapt to climate change, many industries are still heavily reliant on fossil fuel resources to make components in the pharmaceutical, food, cosmetics and other sectors – but the plant kingdom, and...
February 2, 2018
Scientists from the James Hutton Institute have developed a screening system which uses transparent soil technology to help fight nematodes - microscopic worms that are harmful to plants, damaging about 10% of susceptible crops and causing...
February 2, 2018
Dundee’s position as an international hub for research into cereals – particularly barley – has been given a boost with the award of a grant which will create new connections with Australia. The award of a £150,000 from...
February 2, 2018
Plants play essential roles in our lives from recreation and tourism to the economics of timber and crop production. However, the potential for harm from pests and diseases is ever present. Besides the many pests and pathogens that currently...
December 12, 2017
Tis’ the season of potato intake, but did you know the humble tattie is a great source of vitamins C, B6, B9 and a whole host of macro and microminerals? Together, these biocompounds are responsible for maintaining a good health balance and...
December 12, 2017
A PhD student at the University of Dundee and James Hutton Institute has been selected as Young Plant Scientist 2018 in the fundamental research category by the European Plant Science Organisation (EPSO). Shumei Wang, based at the Institute...
November 11, 2017
New opportunities for PhD projects at the James Hutton Institute are now being advertised on FindAPhD.com. PhD projects are being offered by all five of our Science Groups covering many aspects of our work. All projects are funded jointly between...
October 10, 2017
Following a recruitment exercise, the James Hutton Institute is pleased to confirm the appointment of Professor Lesley Torrance and Professor Deborah Roberts to the posts of Directors of Science on a permanent basis with immediate effect.
October 10, 2017
Scientists from the International Barley Hub have discovered a genetic pathway to improved barley grain size and uniformity, a finding which may help breeders develop future varieties suited to the needs of growers and distillers.
September 9, 2017
A research collaboration between REMIN, the James Hutton Institute, James Hutton Limited and a group of Tayside soft fruit growers led by Arbuckle's of Invergowrie has been awarded funding to investigate the economic potential of honeyberries...
July 7, 2017
The blueberry aphid, Ericaphis scammelli, has been detected during routine aphid surveys by SASA and is thought to be widespread across Scotland. It is also known to occur in other parts of the United Kingdom and Europe. The pest can be found...
July 7, 2017
The profile of bere barley, its potential as a source of traits for human and environmental health and as a source of living heritage was highlighted at an event recently held on and around the mainland of Orkney, featuring a range of lectures,...
June 6, 2017
Potato is the third most important food crop in the world after rice and wheat; more than a billion people worldwide eat potato, and global crop production exceeds 300m tonnes each year. However, the crop is particularly vulnerable to increased...
May 5, 2017
Bere barley, a type of barley thought to be the oldest cereal in continuous commercial cultivation in the far north of Britain, may hold key genetic resources to allow plant breeders to tackle issues of agricultural sustainability and...
May 5, 2017
Scientists from the International Barley Hub working in collaboration with brewing industry partners have unravelled the genetic secrets of Golden Promise, a popular malting barley variety in the 1970s and 1980s, in a drive to develop future...
May 5, 2017
Scientists at the James Hutton Institute, in collaboration with the Division of Plant Sciences at the University of Dundee and the Fujian Agricultural and Forestry University of China, have discovered that the pathogen responsible for the...
April 4, 2017
An international scientific consortium has reported the first high-quality genome sequence of barley, a development which will assist crop breeders in developing more resilient barley varieties suited to the requirements of the brewing,...
February 2, 2017
The Commonwealth Potato Collection (CPC), a unique repository of potato germplasm held in trust by the James Hutton Institute with support from the Scottish Government, has made the first-ever seed deposit by a UK institution into the Global Seed...
February 2, 2017
Consumption of berries may have beneficial effects on health related to type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, obesity, neurodegenerative diseases and cancers. The beneficial effects may be due to the presence of protective polyphenol...
February 2, 2017
The Commonwealth Potato Collection (CPC), an invaluable repository of potato germplasm held in trust by the James Hutton Institute with support from the Scottish Government, is set to make the first deposit of plant genetic material by a UK...
December 12, 2016
Mrs Sheena Lamond, a longstanding member of staff and part of the James Hutton Institute’s Cell and Molecular Sciences group in Dundee, has been recognised in the 2017 New Year Honours list.
December 12, 2016
New plant breeding technology is being used by the James Hutton Institute to help blueberries thrive in the Scottish climate, the Scottish Government's Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham has announced. Part of a significant programme...
December 12, 2016
Scientists have developed an improved technique for capturing longer DNA fragments, doubling the size up to 7000 DNA bases that can be analysed for novel genes which provide plants with immunity to disease. By using the RenSeq method,...
December 12, 2016
New risk criteria which aim to transform the performance of potato late blight alert systems were revealed today (7th December) at AHDB’s Agronomists’ Conference in Peterborough. Arising from research undertaken by the James Hutton...
November 11, 2016
St Andrews Brewing Company, a locally-owned Scottish brewery producing craft beer in Fife, has partnered with the James Hutton Institute to develop Harvest Beer, a wholly Scottish beer featuring hops grown at the Institute’s Mylnefield Farm...
November 11, 2016
A research consortium including the James Hutton Institute and AHDB Horticulture is developing a cutting-edge new technology system which can remotely monitor soft fruit crops for stresses. The InnovateUK-funded research aims to produce an...
November 11, 2016
A publication co-edited by a James Hutton Institute scientist is at the top of the most-read electronic books of 2016, according to influential research network Frontiers. The book, titled Plants as alternative hosts for human and animal...
August 8, 2016
As one of the world's most important food crops, potatoes have got everything you need to survive – but could they also help produce the drugs needed to treat illnesses? Researchers at the James Hutton Institute are investigating the...
July 7, 2016
A Dundee and Manchester collaboration has found out more about one of the most abundant biological substances on the planet. Dr Piers Hemsley from the University of Dundee and James Hutton Institute, and Professor Simon Turner from the...
March 3, 2016
Crop traits such as consistency, predictability and storability are highly desirable for the agricultural industry, and of particular importance to potato growers. However, do we understand the genetics behind the traits, and more importantly,...
March 3, 2016
Two new projects featuring James Hutton Institute scientists in Aberdeen and Dundee have received a share of £2m for research to help combat threats to trees and plants, as part of the Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Initiative (THAPBI)....
October 10, 2015
Potato cyst nematodes (PCN) are a significant threat to the UK fresh and processing potato markets, with an annual estimated cost of £50 million to the potato industry. A new study by UK scientists has brought us one step closer towards...
October 10, 2015
James Hutton Institute scientists have achieved an unusual feat: they have harvested a full batch of hops in Dundee. Some of this has been shared with St Andrews Brewing Company, which has produced an experimental wet (green) hop beer.
July 7, 2015
A James Hutton Institute and University of Dundee scientist has been awarded a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Advanced Grant to undertake research on the fundamental mechanisms that underpin the inheritance of genetic characteristics...
February 2, 2015
The soil around roots of plants such as barley – one of our most important crops - is a battleground where only certain bacteria can survive, suggests evidence gathered by an international team including a scientist based at the James...
February 2, 2015
We all think we have some idea of what ‘natural’ is, whether it’s the green meadows we pass by on the train or the fresh and colourful vegetables we pick out in the market. However, our countryside and the food we eat are the...
February 2, 2015
As the world’s fourth most important cereal crop and the UK’s second largest, grown on about half of Scotland’s arable land, barley is sure to get the attention of researchers, growers and industry. This time it also caught the...
February 2, 2015
An image taken by Dr Isabelle Colas, plant molecular geneticist at the Cell and Molecular Sciences Group of the James Hutton Institute in Dundee, has snapped one of the top prizes at a competition organised by the University of Dundee to mark the...
November 11, 2014
Researchers from the Agricultural Institute of Slovenia (AIS) visited the James Hutton Institute as part of the CropSustaIn project, which looks into alternatives for sustainable crop production in Slovenia in the face of global change. The...
October 10, 2014
Researchers from the James Hutton Institute and Kenyan institutions have successfully introduced popular UK potato cultivar Mayan Gold in Kenya, in an effort to boost food security and strengthen potato production systems in the East African...
July 7, 2014
The International Wheat Genome Sequencing Consortium (IWGSC) has published a chromosome-based draft sequence of the bread wheat genome in the international journal Science. This genetic blueprint provides new insights into the structure,...
April 4, 2014
Researchers at the James Hutton Institute and leading commercial breeding companies are working to improve the quality of winter barley for malting purposes, in a bid to address the concerns of maltsters, brewers and distillers about the long-...
August 8, 2012
Two scientists at the James Hutton Institute and the University of Dundee's Division of Plant Sciences have been awarded highly prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Starting Grants.
June 6, 2012
Two young scientists working at the James Hutton Institute have been jointly awarded the Peter Massalski Prize for meritorious research. This year’s award panel were so impressed by the calibre of nominations that they decided to jointly...
June 6, 2011
The foundation of the James Hutton Institute has taken a major step forward with the announcement of the senior science leadership team.
April 4, 2011
Scotland has a brand new research ‘super institute’ with the job of tackling some of the world’s most challenging problems including the impact of climate change and threats to food and water security. The James Hutton...

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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.