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Rex Brennan

Staff picture: Rex Brennan
Cell and Molecular Sciences
Cell and Molecular Sciences
Honorary Associate
+44 (0)344 928 5428 (*)

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK


Honorary Associate of soft fruit breeding group at the James Hutton Institute, with particular expertise on the integration of commissioned work on berry fruit genetics with commercially-funded fruit breeding programmes in Ribes and Rubus.


  • 2007 - Scottish Horticultural Medal by the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society
  • 2002 - Jones Bateman Cup for fruit research by the Royal Horticultural Society
  • 1998-9 - University of Minnesota Department of Horticulture endowed chair for research


Current research interests

1. Ribes breeding and genetics

(i) Linkage mapping of traits, development and deployment of markers linked to key traits (in collaboration with Dr Joanne Russell).  Recent work has focused on the use of Next Generation Sequencing techniques for SNP discovery in Ribes.

(ii) Heritability of commercially significant traits, and development of enhanced germplasm.

(iii) Intraspecific diversity within Ribes and use of interspecific hybrids in germplasm enhancement

(iv) Downstream blackcurrant cultivar development and release through commercially-funded breeding programmes for both the juice processing and fresh markets ( )

2. Fruit quality and health aspects (in collaboration with Drs Robert Hancock and Derek Stewart), with particular emphasis on the enhancement of vitamin C and anthocyanins in germplasm of Ribes and other berry fruits.

3. Temperature and climate change effects on perennial fruit crops, with respect to winter chilling requirement and genetic control of dormancy processes (in collaboration with Dr Lyn Jones, University of Dundee, and Drs Pete Hedley and Joanne Russell, The James Hutton Institute). Also, manipulation of dormancy processes in Rubus spp. for extension of cropping season.


  • Graham J.; Brennan, R. (2018) Introduction to the Rubus genus., In: Graham, J. & Brennan, R. (eds.). Raspberry: Breeding, Challenges and Advances. Springer International Publishing, Cham, Chapter 1, pp1-16.
  • Brennan, R.; Jarret, D. (2014) Ribes: currants and gooseberry., In: George, R.A.T. & Fox, R.T.V. (eds.). Diseases of Temperate Horticultural Plants, CABI, UK, 4, pp 68-83.
  • Brennan, R.M.; Caligari, P.D.S.; Clark, J.R.; Bras de Oliveira, P.N.; Finn, C.E.; Hancock, J.F.; Jarret, D.; Lobos, G.A.; Raffle, S.; Simpson, D. (2014) Berry crops., In: Dixon, G. & Aldous, D.E. (eds.). Horticulture - Plants for People and Places. Volume 1, Production Horticulture. Springer, New York,Chapter 9
  • Brennan, R.M. (2008) Currants and gooseberries (Ribes spp.)., In: Hancock, J. (ed.). Breeding of Temperate Fruit Crops. Kluwer Academic Press, 177-196.
  • Brennan, R.M. (2008) Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum) L., In: CABI (ed.). Crop Protection Compendium. Wallingford.
  • Brennan, R.M.; Millam, S. (2003) Improvement and maintenance of temperate fruit germplasm., In: Caballero, B., Trugo, L. & Finglas, P. (eds.). Encyclopaedia of Food Sciences and Nutrition. 2nd ed., Elsevier Science, UK, pp2774-2780.
  • Brennan, R.M.; Harrison, R.E. (2001) Factors affecting the processing of red fruits., In: Raw Ingredients in the Processed Foods: The Influence of Agricultural Principles and Practices (ed. M.B. Springett). Aspen Publishers, Gaithersburg, MD., pp97-123.
  • Brennan, R.M.; Millam, S. (1999) Conservation of small fruit germplasm., In: Plant Conservation Biotechnology (ed. E.E. Benson). Taylor and Francis, London, pp155-163.
  • Stewart, D.; Brennan, R.M. (1995) Blackcurrant stems. An agri-waste with potential as a diluent to existing tree-based fibres., In: The Chemistry and Processing of Wood and Plant Fibrous Materials (eds. J.F. Kennedy, G.O. Phillips and P.A. Williams). Ellis Horwood Ltd. Chichester, pp25-30.

  • Gordon, S.; Brennan, R.; Caldwell, E.; Young, D.; Christie, A. (2018) Hops in Scotland - a rough guide for growers., Handout for distribution at Networking Event, James Hutton Institute, Dundee, 30 August 2018.
  • McCallum, S.; Woodhead, M.; Brennan, R.M.; Graham, J. (2011) Developing molecular tools for the British blueberry industry., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2010, pp29-31.
  • Brennan, R.M.; Jones, H.G.; Russell, J.R.; Hedley, P.E.; Jorgensen, L.; Hackett, C.A.; Gordon, S. (2010) Dormancy in blackcurrant and the potential effects of future climatic conditions., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2009, pp10-11.
  • Mazzitelli, L.; Hancock, R.D.; Haupt, S.; McNicol, J.W.; Viola, R.; Brennan, R.M.; Hedley, P.E.; Taylor, M.A. (2006) Understanding dormancy release in raspberry buds., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2006, pp32-33.
  • Atkinson, C.J.; Sunley, R.J.; Jones, H.G.; Brennan, R.M.; Darby, P. (2005) Winter chill in fruit., DEFRA Report No. CTC0206, London, 134pp.
  • Birch, A.N.E.; Begg, G.S.; Brennan, R.M.; Fenton, B.; Gordon, S.C.; Griffiths, B.S.; Griffiths, D.W.; Hillier, J.; Malloch, G.; Squire, G.R.; Wheatley, R.E. (2002) Developing sustainable pest management strategies for a changing future., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2001/2002, pp184-189.
  • Fenton, B.; Malloch, G.L.; Brennan, R.M.; Birch, A.N.E. (2002) Evolution and adaptation of insects and mites to vegetation systems., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 2000/2001, pp144-147.
  • Gillespie, T.; Brennan, R.M.; McNicol, R.J. (1999) Cultivar responses to long-cane fruit production in raspberry., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 1998/99, pp105-109.
  • Brennan, R.M.; Gordon, S.L.; Lanham, P.G. (1998) Blackcurrant breeding and genetics., Annual Report of the Scottish Crop Research Institute for 1997/98, pp89-92.

Printed from /staff/rex-brennan on 29/05/22 01:18:52 AM

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.