Our area of interest is the development, function and evolution of floral traits that are important in attracting animal pollinators. By understanding how plants build traits that attract particular animals we aim to understand the diversification of the flowering plants while developing targets for plant breeding to enhance crop yield in the face of pollinator decline.
We are particularly interested in petal characters such as colour, texture and insect-mimicking spots. We use molecular genetic, systematic and developmental techniques to address these problems, and our lab incorporates a bee behavioural facility to explore pollinator responses.
Five PhD projects primarily supervised in my lab are listed on my department webpage. One is focused on the interaction between epidermal hairs and herbivores: The genetic basis of herbivore deterrence in tomato. One takes a molecular evolution approach to understanding plant cellular diversity: The MYB/bHLH/WDR complex and the evolution of cellular diversity in the multicellular green lineage. The other 3 all explore aspects of flower development, function and evolution: How to spot a daisy (evolution and development of petal spots); Evolution of plant breeding systems: male form and function in nightshade flowers; and Truncated genes and flower colour evolution (Function and evolution of a transcriptional regulator of petal pigmentation from Antirrhinum).
Please email me to discuss any of the projects in more detail.
- Brockington, S., Alvarez-Fernandez, R., Landis, J., Alcorn, K., Walker, R., Thomas, M., Hileman, L. & Glover, B.J. (2013) Evolutionary analysis of the MIXTA gene family highlights potential targets for the study of cellular differentiation. Molecular Biology and Evolution 30, 526-540.
- Box, M.S., Dodsworth, S., Rudall, P., Bateman, R. & Glover, B.J. (2011) Characterisation of Linaria KNOX genes suggests a role in petal spur development. Plant Journal 608, 703-714.
- Whitney, H., Kolle, M., Andrew, P., Chittka, L., Steiner, U. & Glover, B.J. (2009) Floral iridescence, produced by diffractive optics, acts as a cue for animal pollinators. Science 323, 130-133.