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David Cooke

Staff picture: David Cooke
Cell and Molecular Sciences
Cell and Molecular Sciences
Research Leader
+44 (0)1382 568831

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK

  • First Class Honours Graduate in Agricultural Botany, University of Wales Aberystwyth.
  • PhD Plant Pathology, University of Wales Aberystwyth.
  • Employed at the Institute since 1994 as a project leader in plant pathology.
  • Senior Editor for Phytopathology (2015-18); Senior Editor for PhytoFrontiers 2020-

Current research interests

  • Development and exploitation of genetic markers (SSR, effector gene sequences) for examining the population biology, epidemiology and management of Phytophthora infestans (potato late blight).
  • Co-ordinator of pathogen data for European project examining populations of Phytophthora infestans (Euroblight). See data release on 2020 population "Results of the EuroBlight potato late blight monitoring in 2020" and maps.
  • Evolution and population genetics of the genus Phytophthora.
  • Use of eDNA metabarcoding to examine diversity of Phytophthora species in crops, forests and natural ecosystems. In current funding I am testing the technology for improved plant biosecurity and management of Phytophthora in nurseries in the PHYTO-THREATS project.
  • Soft fruit Phytophthora species: detection and control.
  • AHDB Potatoes funded projects: "Monitoring GB Phytophthora infestans population change 2019-21" and PhD "Improved potato late blight management using sophisticated models of pathogen infection and spread" which has released the Hutton Criteria to replace the Smith Period.
  • Epidemiology and risks posed by Phytophthora ramorum and P. kernoviae to managed gardens and heathland in Scotland. Full report and extension report on risks as a result of disease spread on larch are available. In addition a review on threats Phytophthora species pose to plant health in Scotland.


  • Ristaino, J.B.; Cooke, D.E.L.; Acuña, I.; Muñoz, M. (2020) The threat of late blight to global food security., In: Ristaino, J.B. & Records, A. (eds.). Emerging Plant Diseases and Global Food Security. APS Press, St. Paul, Minnesota, USA, Chapter 6, pp101-132.
  • Wilcox, W.F.; Cooke, D.E.L (2017) Phytophthora root rot., In: Martin, R.R., Ellis, M.A., Williamson, B. & Williams, R.N. Compendium of Raspberry and Blackberry Diseases and Pests, 2nd Ed. American Phytopathological Society, St. Paul, MN, pp52-56.
  • Cooke, D.E.L.; Andersson, B. (2013) Phytophthora infestans and potato late blight in Europe., In: Lamour, K. (ed.). Phytophthora: A Global Perspective. CABI International, pp59-67.
  • Cooke, D.E.L. (2012) Fingerprinting techniques., In: Lane, C., Beales, P.A. & Hughes, K.J.D. (eds.). Fungal Plant Pathogens. CAB International, Wallingford, Oxon, Chapter 9, pp200-222.
  • Wilcox, W.F.; Cooke, D.E.L. (2010) Phytophthora root rot., American Phytopathological Society, St Paul, MN, 2nd edition.
  • Fry, W.E.; Grunwald, N.J.; Cooke, D.E.L.; McLeod, A.; Forbes, G.A.; Cao, K. (2009) Population genetics and population diversity of Phytophthora infestans., In: Lamour, K.H. & Kamoun, S. (eds.). Oomycete Genetics and Genomics: Diversity, Interactions and Research Tools. Wiley-Blackwell, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA, Chapter 7, 139-163.
  • Colon, L.T.; Cooke, D.E.L.; Gronbech-Hansen, J.; Lassen, P.; Andrivon, D.; Hermansen, A.; Zimnoch-Guzowska, E.; Lees, A.K. (2005) Eucablight: a late blight network for Europe., In: Haverkort, A.J. and Struik, P.C (eds.). Potato in Progress: Science Meets Practice. Wageningen Academic Publishers, Wageningen, pp290-297
  • Birch, P.R.J.; Cooke, D.E.L. (2004) Mechanisms of infection - oomycetes., In: Goodman, R.G. (ed.). Encyclopedia of Plant and Crop Science. Marcel Dekker Inc., New York, pp697-700.
  • Cooke, D.E.L.; Williams, N.A.; Williamson, B.; Duncan, J.M. (2002) An ITS-based phylogenetic analysis of the relationships between Peronospora and Phytophthora., In: Spencer-Phillips, P.T.N., Gisi, U. & Lebeda, A. (eds.). Advances in Downy Mildew Research, Kluwer, Dordrecht, 161-165.
  • Duncan, J.M.; Cooke, D.E.L.; Birch, P.R.J.; Toth, R.L. (1998) Molecular variability in sexually reproducing fungal plant pathogens., In: Bridge, P., Couteaudier, Y. & Clarkson, J. (eds.). Molecular Variability of Fungal Pathogens. CAB International, Wallinford, pp19-39.

  • Cooke, D.;Lees, A. (2021) Population monitoring and fungicide sensitivity testing of Phytophthora infestans across GB 201921 Project annual report for 201920,
  • Cooke, D.E.L. (2019) GB Late blight population monitoring 2014 to 2018., Final Report to AHDB Potatoes, Report No. 2019/10, 41pp.
  • Cooke, D.E.L. (2018) Phytophthora diversity in natural ecosystems based on eDNA analysis., Progress report on RD1.3.3 submitted to Plant Health Policy contact at Scottish Government (John Speirs).
  • Cooke, D.E.L.; Lees, A.K.; Chapman, A.; Cooke, L.R.; Bain, R. (2014) GB Late Blight Populations: monitoring and implications of population changes. Reporting Period 2009-2012., Potato Council Final Report (R423), 94pp.
  • Cooke, D.E.L.; Lees, A.K.; Chapman, A.; Cooke, L.R.; Bain, R. (2014) GB Late blight populations: monitoring and implications of population changes., Potato Council Final Report, R423.
  • Cooke, D.E.L.; Elliot, M.; Harris, C.; Jennings, P.; Purse, B.; Schlenzig, A. (2014) Study of the epidemiology of Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae in managed gardens and heathland in Scotland., Final Report of Scottish Government Project CRF/925.
  • Lees, A.; Cooke, D,.E.L.; Toth, I.; Dolan, A.; SRUC; Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh. (2014) Scottish Government Plant Health Workshop., Rapporteur, Scottish Government Plant Health Workshop, Victoria Quay, Edinburgh, 8 December 2014.
  • Schlenzig, A.; Cooke, D.E.L. (2013) Genetic diversity of Phytophthora ramorum in nursery trade and managed environment in Scotland., Proceedings of the Sudden Oak Death 5th Science Symposium, General Technical Report PSW-GTR-243, pp33-39.
  • Cooke, D.E.L. (2011) The impact of invasive plant pathogenic Phytophthora species on biodiversity., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2010, pp24-25.
  • Cooke, D.E.L.; Lees, A.K.; Shaw, D.S.; Bain, R.; Ritchie, F.; Taylor, M. (2010) Final report: Survey of GB blight populations., Potato Council, Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, Kenilworth, Warwickshire.
  • Torrance, L.; Toth, I.K.; Cooke, D.E.L.; Fenton, B.; Blok, V.C.; Lees, A.K. (2010) Risks of new or emerging pests and pathogens posed by environmental change., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2009, pp14-17.
  • Lees, A.K.; Cooke, D.E.L.; Fenton, B.; Newton, A.C. (2010) Understanding pathogen biodiversity as a key to controlling crop diseases., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2009, pp24-25.
  • Wale, S.; Inglis, M.; Bain, R.; Davey, T.; Evans, A.; Bradshaw, J.E.; Phillips, M.; Jones, J.T.; Fenton, B.; Cooke, D.E.L.; Ramsay, G. (2008) Welcome to the Potatoes in Partnership open meetings 2008 which form part of knowledge transfer activities for RERAD funded research., SAC Information Note 105
  • Bengough, A.G.; Barlow, P.W.; Cooke, D.E.L.; Griffiths, B.S.; Humphris, S.N.; Iijima, M.; Killham, K.; Rodger, S.; Stubbs, V.; Valentine, T.A.; Young, I.M. (2004) Root border cells in plant-soil interactions., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2003/2004, 160-161.
  • Duncan, J.M.; Cooke, D.E.L.; Williams, N.A.; Mirabolfathy, M. (2001) Phytophthora and gummosis of pistachio in Iran., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2000/2001, 136-139.
  • Cooke, D.E.L.; Maughan, V.; Birch, P.R.J.; Toth, R.; Gourlay, F.; Carnegie, S.; Duncan, J.M. (2000) The status of Scottish late blight populations., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 1999/2000, 150-153.
  • Cooke, D.E.L.; Birch, A.N.E.; Birch, P.R.J.; Duncan, J.M.; Griffiths, D.W.; Lyon, G.D.; Trudgill, D.L.; Williamson, B.; Wilson, T.M.A.; Hillman, J.R. (1998) Are diseased and blemished foodstuffs good for you? The need for plant pathology., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 1997/98, pp54-60.

Scientific Posters / Conferences

File Validation and Exploitation of a PCR-based Diagnostic for Detecting Phytophthora in Strawberry and Raspberry 146.81 KB
File Genetic analysis of Scottish Phytophthora infestans populations with emphasis on within-outbreak diversity in 2004 720.8 KB
File The monitoring of GB blight outbreaks: mating type and genetic fingerprint analysis 381.34 KB
File The use of microsatellite markers to examine European P. infestans populations using the EUCABLIGHT database 218.37 KB
File The use of SSR markers to examine Scottish Phytophthora infestans populations 189.16 KB
File Using SSR markers to investigate Scottish Phytophthora infestans populations and the epidemiology of potato late blight 787.86 KB
File Detection of Phytophthora in plants by the Polymerase Chain Reaction 65.8 KB
File Detection of Phytophthora species in Strawberry in Plantations in S. Italy by a PCR-based Diagnostic 267.66 KB
File Relationships Within and Between Phytophthora and Other Oomycetes as Revealed by Two Types of Molecular Markers 244.61 KB
File Tracking Late Blight in the Field 118.5 KB
File Does Phytophthora idaei pose a threat to the raspberry crop? 402.88 KB
File Changing GB blight populations: mating type and genotype fingerprint analysis 905.72 KB
File Drivers and possible consequences of a changing population of Phytophthora infestans on the GB potato industry 805.63 KB
File Tracking Phytophthora in natural ecosystems 936.66 KB
File The changing Phytophthora infestans population: implications for Late Blight epidemics and control 5.1 MB
File Using molecular tools to investigate the role of tuber and soil-borne inoculum of Phytophthora infestans 775.52 KB
File Eucablight – A Late Blight Network for Europe 513.17 KB
File A new molecular tool box for the detection of Phytophthora species threatening forests and other natural ecosystems 297.75 KB
File How root and leaf traits of soft fruit help resist pest and pathogen attack
870.79 KB
File Impacts of forest pathogens: Predicting the spread of pathogens and risks to forest ecosystems: the case of Phytophthora
1.27 MB

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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.