The National Collection Holder for Primula (British floral variants), Dr Margaret Webster is a coauthor of a landmark paper published in the latest issue of Nature Plants scientific journal: http://www.nature.com/articles/nplants2016188
Margaret has spent over 20 years collecting and researching the various floral mutants of primrose. In 2005, she submitted a PhD thesis on Floral Morphogenesis in Primula.
The reproductive system of primula can take two forms, in a condition known as heterostyly: “Pin” flowers have a long style and short anthers, while”thrum” flowers have a short style and high anthers. Darwin hypothesised that this was a simple way for plants to promote outcrossing, and improve the genetic diversity.
In this latest study, led by scientists from the University of East Anglia & John Innes Centre, genes responsible for the variation observed in the morphology of primroses have been identified. To find out more about this discovery, have a look at this press release issued by the university: