Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

About the PNAS Member Editor
Name Baulcombe, David
Location University of Cambridge
Primary Field Plant Biology
Secondary Field Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences
 Election Citation
Baulcombe has characterized numerous plant genes conferring resistance against virus disease and pioneered the genetic engineering of virus resistance in plants. His work recognized the importance of gene silencing as a natural antiviral defense mechanism, and his discovery of short silencing RNA molecules has been seminal in the field of RNA interference.
 Research Interests
Gene regulation has been the underlying theme throughout my research career. I work on plants but the general concepts and many of the mechanisms are common to all parts of the tree of life and my work has had impact in diverse areas including agriculture and biomedicine. To begin with I focused on individual genes but advanced technology and computing now allows analysis of complex gene networks. We can now begin to address the question of emergent properties in which cells and organisms are more than the simple sum of their parts so that molecular biology is truly 'biology'. My group has become interested in epigenetics - the science of how nurture influences nature - and how environmental effects can be transmitted from one generation to the next. Over the years the context of my interest in gene regulation has involved plant hormone, viruses, disease resistane and now interspecific hybridisation.

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