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Cambridge Global Food Security

An Interdisciplinary Research Centre at the University of Cambridge

Studying at Cambridge


Dr Diane Lister

Dr Diane Lister

Post-Doctoral Researcher in Archaeogenetics, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research (currently on Secondment to the BioScience Impact Team)

Office Phone: 01223 339330

Departments and Institutes

Department of Archaeology :

Research Interests

I am interested in the spread of agriculture during prehistory, using molecular genetic techniques to look for patterns of diversity and adaptation in crop species which may reflect early human dispersals. I mainly work with barley and wheat landraces; these are farmer's varieties that are highly locally adapted. Many of these landraces are no longer grown by farmers, as they have been replaced with higher-yielding modern cultivars. However, germplasm collections around the world have conserved these landraces, and studies of their genetic diversity shows that they are important sources of genetic material for crop breeding programmes. The conservation of these important crop varieties, both ex situ in germplasm collections, and in situ in farmers' fields, is vital for the food security not only in the countries where these are grown, but to the world as a whole. Genetic analyses of these landraces is revealing the genomic regions associated with environmental adaptation, such as genes involved in flowering time pathways. Understanding environmental adaptation in plants will assist in breeding crops that are resilient to environmental extremes.

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