Much of my current research follows from the discovery in my Norwich laboratory of a novel type of regulatory RNA – siRNA. Current projects in the laboratory focus on the mechanisms of siRNA-mediated regulation and their influence on natural variation. I am also interested in the influence of siRNA on heritable effects that do not involve changes to the sequence of the genome. Understanding these ‘epigenetic’ effects is central to any discussion about nurture and nature.
Outside the laboratory I promote the use of plant biotechnology for crop improvement. I am particularly interested in technologies addressing problems in developing countries and participate in a consortium that addresses sweet potato virus disease. I plan to initiate other projects on strategies for developing disease resistant germplasm. These strategies include but are not restricted to GM technologies.