Primula Collection Holder in breakthrough research

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.

primula

From Darwin, C. R. 1877. The different forms of flowers on plants of the same species.

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:
https://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/biologists-unlock-51-7-million-year-old-genetic-secret-to-landmark-darwin-theory

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