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William Thomas

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

The James Hutton Institute
Dundee DD2 5DA
Scotland UK


Current research interests

  • Plant breeding and genetics, Marker assisted selection, marker assisted breeding, Agronomically relevant traits.
  • My research focusses upon the connection between genotype and phenotype to dissect the genetic control of complex economically important traits such as the various parameters of malting quality in barley. Dr Thomas is the manager of the Scottish Government funded Work Package 1.1 – Barley Genetics which focusses upon the development of tools and resources to deliver improvements in the sustainability in Scottish (and UK) barley production.
  • Interact with all facets of the barley industry in these objectives, such as seed companies and representatives of the brewing and distilling industries and was instrumental in the formation of the consortium of plant breeders, end-users and academic partners in the recently funded BBSRC LINK project 'Association Genetics of Elite UK Barley'.
  • The James Hutton Institute lead PI on the Defra LINK project 'Genetic Reduction of Energy use and Emissions of Nitrogen through cereal production: GREEN grain'.
  • Previously led a successful LINK project aimed at identifying the genetic control of characters specific to the distilling industry and was the SCRI lead PI in a BBSRC/SEERAD funded collaborative project 'Development of robust, broad-based QTL maps to improve barley breeding' with the National Institute of Agricultural Botany and Heriot Watt University.
  • Was a co-PI on the EU INCO-MED project 'Mapping Adaptation of Barley to Droughted Environments' and an HGCA funded project 'Causes and control of endosperm exposure in barley'.
  • Have been instrumental in the uptake of two diagnostic markers for use in marker-assisted barley breeding – one for resistance to the Barley Yellow Mosaic complex and the other for non-production of epiheterodendrin.
  • Currently working with BSPB and CEL in the use of the former in candidate selection for UK recommended list trials.
  • Nearly 30 years research experience in cereals, I have published a number of papers in refereed journals and supervised post-graduate research projects.

Other Activities

  • Scottish Society of Crop Research Cereals Sub-committee (Member).
  • BSPB Cereals Crop Group (Member).
  • Editor Annals of Applied Biology.
  • External examiner Birmingham University.


  • Thomas, W.T.B.; Bull, H.; Houston, K.; Looseley, M.E. (2017) Barley (Origins, uses, breeding, and composition)., In: Walker, G.M., Abbas, C., Ingledew, W.M. and Pilgrim, C. (eds.). The Alcohol Textbook, 6th edition. Chapter 5.
  • Waugh, R.; Thomas, W. T. B.; Flavell, A. J.; Ramsay, L.; Comadran, J.; Russell, J. R. (2014) Genome wide association scans (GWAS), In: Kumlehn, J. and Stein, N. (eds.) Biotechnological Approaches to Barley Improvement, Biotechnology in Agriculture and Forestry, 69. Berlin: Springer, pp. 345-365
  • Waugh, R.; Flavell, A.J.; Russell, J.R.; Thomas, W.T.B.; Ramsay, L.; Comadran, J. (2014) Exploiting barley genetic resources for Genome Wide Association Scans (GWAS)., Tuberosa, R., Graner, A. & Frison, E. (eds.). Genomics of Plant Genetic Resources. Volume 1. Managing, Sequencing and Mining Genetic Resources. Springer, The Netherlands, Chapter 10, pp237-254.
  • Forster, B.P.; Franckowiak, J.D.; Lundqvist, U.; Thomas, W.T.B.; Leader, D.; Shaw, P.; Lyon, J.; Waugh, R. (2012) Mutant phenotyping and pre-breeding in barley., In: Shu, Q.Y., Forster, B.P. & Nakagawa, H. (eds.). Plant Mutation Breeding and Biotechnology. CAB International, Wallingford. Chapter 25, pp327-346.
  • Romagosa, I.; van Eeuwijk, F.A.; Thomas, W.T.B. (2009) Statistical analyses of genotype by environment data., In: Carena, M.J. (ed.). Cereals, Handbook of Plant Breeding. Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 291-332.
  • Thomas, W.T.B. (2006) Barley breeding in the United Kingdom., In: Acquaah, G. (ed.). Principles of Plant Genetics and Breeding. Blackwell Publishing, Oxford, pp299-303.
  • Thomas, W.T.B.; Forster, B.P.; Gertsson, B. (2003) Doubled haploids in breeding., In: Maluszynski, M., Kasha, K.J., Forster, B.P. & Szarejko, I. (eds.). Doubled Haploid Production in Crop Plants. Kluwer Academic Publisher, Vienna, pp337-350.
  • Forster, B.P.; Thomas, W.T.B. (2003) Doubled haploids in genetic mapping and genomics., In: Maluszynski, M., Kasha, K.J., Forster, B.P. & Szarejko, I. (eds.). Doubled Haploid Production in Crop Plants. Kluwer Academic Publishers, Vienna, pp367-390.
  • Thomas, W.T.B. (2000) Molecular biological tools in cereal breeding., In: Morris, P.C. & Bryce, J.H. (eds.). Cereal Biotechnology. Woodhead Publishing Limited, Cambridge, pp107-136.
  • Thomas, W.T.B.; Russell, J.R.; Bonar, N.; Booth, A.; Fuller, J.D.; Lawrence, P.; Macaulay, M.; Ramsay, L.; Waugh, R.; Powell, W. (1997) Simple sequence repeats SSRs and QTL mapping in barley crosses.., In: H. Buerstmayer & P. Ruckenbauer (eds.). Application of Marker Aided Selection in Cereal Breeding Programs. Eucarpia Section Cereals Meeting. Tulln, Austria, 28-29.
  • Hayes, P.; Chen, F.Q.; Corey, A.; Pan, A.H.; Chen, T.H.H.; Baird, E.; Powell, W.; Thomas, W.T.B.; Waugh, R.; Bedo, Z.; Karsai, I.; Blake, T.; Oberthur, L. (1997) The Dicktoo x Morex Population - A model for dissecting components of winterhardiness in barley., In: Li, P.H. & Chen, T.H.H. (eds.). Plant Cold Hardiness. Plenum Press. New York, pp77-87.

Printed from /staff/william-thomas on 09/06/23 09:21:47 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.