Dr Richard Harrison

Head of Department
Department:Genetics, Genomics & Breeding
Tel:+44 (0)1732 843833
DD:+44 (0)1732 523747
Fax:+44 (0)1732 849067

Research Interests

I lead the Genetics, Genomics and Breeding Department at NIAB EMR, which spans applied to fundamental crop research.  Research in my own group focusses on understanding the evolution and genetic basis of complex traits, such as interactions between plants and microbes. Key questions that we are addressing in the lab are focussed around understanding at a mechanistic level how pathogenicity and host specificity have evolved and how plants respond and defend themselves against pathogen attack and over what evolutionary timescales these interactions occur.

I also have an interest in the application of population genomics, using DNA sequence variation as a tool to understand the functional importance of different classes of pathogenicity genes. There are several ongoing BBSRC projects in this area accounting for the vast majority of research in the lab, often funded in collaboration with the international horticulture industry. The group works both in the laboratory and as bioinformaticians, with a particular interest in the analysis of data from large scale sequencing projects. The objective of most of our work is to provide scientific knowledge to underpin the horticultural industry through pre-breeding and development of novel pathogen control strategies.

Full publication list

List of funded projects

View my CV

Selected Publications

  • NELLIST C.F., Vickerstaff R.J., Sobczyk M.K., Marina-Montes C., Wilson F.M., Simpson D.W., Whitehouse A.B. and Harrison R.J. (2019). Quantitative trait loci controlling Phytophthora cactorum resistance in the cultivated octoploid strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa). Horticulture Research. Volume: 6(60), 1-14. DOI: 10. 1038/S41438-019-0136-4.
  • Wilson F, Harrison K, Armitage AD, Simkin, AJ, Harrison RJ. (2019). CRISPR/Cas9-mediated mutagenesis of phytoene desaturase in diploid and octoploid Strawberry. BMC Plant Methods. 15:45. (IF=4.2).
  • Armitage A.D., Taylor A, Hulin M.T, Jackson A.C, Harrison R.J., Clarkson J.P. (2019). Draft Genome Sequence of an Onion Basal Rot Isolate of Fusarium proliferatum. Microbiol Resour Announc 8 (1),. e01385-18.
  • Fountain MT, Bennett J, Cobo-Medina M, Conde Ruiz R, Deakin G, Delgado A, Harrison R, Harrison N. (2018). Alimentary microbes of winter-form Drosophila suzukki. Insect Molecular Biology, doi: 10.1111/imb. 12377..
  • Hulin MT, Armitage AD, Vicente JG, Holub EB, Baxter L, Bates HJ, Mansfield JW, Jackson RW, Harrison RJ. (2018). Comparative genomics of Pseudomonas syringae reveals convergent gene gain and loss associated with specialization onto cherry (Prunus avium). New Phytologist, doi: 10.1111/nph.15182.
  • Andrew D Armitage, Andrew Taylor, Maria K Sobczyk, Laura Baxter, Bethany P.J. Greenfield, Helen Bates, Fiona Wilson, Alison Jackson, Sascha Ott, Richard Harrison, John P. Clarkson. (2018). Pangenomic analysis reveals pathogen-specific regions and novel effector candidates in Fusarium oxysporum f.sp.cepae. (preprint) BioRxiv. doi: https//doi.org/10.1101/182238.
  • Armitage A.D., Lysoe E., NELLIST C.F., Lewis L.A., Cano L.M., Harrison R.J. and Brurberg M.B. (2018). Bioinformatic characterisation of the effector repertoire of the strawberry pathogen Phytophthora cactorum PLOS ONE, 13(10). e0202305. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0202305.
  • Joe Q He, Richard J Harrison, Bo Li. (2017). A novel 3D imaging system for strawberry phenotyping Plant Methods. 13:1,93.
  • Richard Michelmore, Gitta Coaker, Rebecca Bart, Gwyn Beattie, Andrew Bent, Toby Bruce, Duncan Cameron, Jeffery Dangl, Savithramma Dinesh-Kumar, Rob Edwards, Sebastian Eves-van den Akker, Walter Gassmann, Jean T. Greenberg, Linda Hanley-Bowdoin, Richard J. Harrison, Jagger Harvey, Ping He, Alisa Huffaker, Scot Hulbert, Roger Innes, Jonathan D. G. Jones, Isgouhi Kaloshian, Sophien Kamoun, Fumiaki Katagiri, Jan Leach, Wenbo Ma, John McDowell, June Medford, Blake Meyers, Rebecca Nelson, Richard Oliver, Yiping Qi, Diane Saunders, Michael Shaw, Christine Smart, Prasanta Subudhi, Lesley Torrance, Bret Tyler, Barbara Valent, and John Walsh. (2017). Foundational and translational research opportunities to improve plant health Molecular Plant-Microbe Interactions. Volume 30 (7) Pages 515-516.
  • Robinson Boyer, Louisa, Wei Feng, Natallia Gulbis, Klara Hajdu, Richard J Harrison, Peter Jeffries, Xiangming Xu. (2016). The Use of Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi to Improve Strawberry Production in Coir Substrate. Frontiers in Plant Science. 7:1237.
  • Taylor A, Vágány V, Jackson A.C., Harrison R.J., Rainoni A. and Clarkson J.P. . (2016). Identification of pathogenicity-related genes in Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. cepae Molecular Plant Pathology Sep;17(7):. 1032-47.
  • Harrison N, Harrison R.J., Kidner C.A. . (2016). Comparative Analysis of Begonia Plastid Genomes and Their Utility for Species-Level Phylogenetics PLoS ONE 11(4): . e0153248.
  • Harrison N., Harrison R.J., Barber-Perez N., Cascant-Lopez E., Cobo-Medina M., Lipska M., Conde-Ruiz R., Brain P., Gregory P.J. and Fernandez-Fernandez F. . (2016). A new three-locus model for rootstock-induced dwarfing in apple revealed by genetic mapping of root bark percentage J. Exp. Bot. 67(6). 1871-81.
  • Baroncelli R., Buchvaldt-Amby D., Zapparata A., Sarrocco S., Vannacci G., Le Floch G., Harrison R.J., Holub E., Sukno S.A., Sreenivasaprasad S. and Thon M.R.. (2016). Gene family expansions and contractions are associated with host range in plant pathogens of the genus Colletotrichum – BMC Genomics 17. 555.
  • Daniel Penselin, Martin Münsterkötter, Susanne Kirsten, Marius Felder, Stefan Taudien, Matthias Platzer, Kevin Ashelford, Konrad H Paskiewicz, Richard J Harrison, David J Hughes, Thomas Wolf, Ekaterina Shelest, Jenny Graap, Jan Hoffmann, Claudia Wenzel, Nadine Wöltje, Kevin M King, Bruce DL Fitt, Ulrich Güldener, Anna Avrova, Wolfgang Knogge. (2016). Comparative genomics to explore phylogenetic relationship, cryptic sexual potential and host specificity of Rhynchosporium species on grasses BMC genomics. 17(1),953.
  • L Antanaviciute, N Šurbanovski, N Harrison, K J McLeary, D W Simpson, F Wilson, D J Sargent & R J Harrison. (2015). Mapping QTL associated with Verticillium dahliae resistance in the cultivated strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) Horticulture Research 2. 15009.
  • Armitage AD, Barbara DJ, Harrison RJ, Lane CR, Sreenivasaprasad S, Woodhall JW,Clarkson JP. (2015). Discrete lineages within Alternaria alternata species group: Identification using new highly variable loci and support from morphological characters.  Fungal Biol. 2015 Nov;119(11):. 994-1006.
  • Gomez A, Harrison R.J and Armitage A . (2015). Draft genome of a European isolate of the apple canker pathogen Neonectria ditissima Genome Announcements Nov 19;3(6). . pii: e01243-15.
  • Li B, Hulin M.T., Brain P, Mansfield J.W., Jackson R.W. and Harrison R.J. . (2015). Rapid, automated detection of stem canker symptoms in woody perennials using artificial neural network analysis Plant Methods 11:. 57.
  • X-M Xu, T Passey, F Wei, R Saville, RJ. Harrison . (2015). Amplicon-based metagenomics identified candidate organisms in soils that caused yield decline in strawberry Hort Res (Nature) 2, 15022. doi:10.1038/hortres.2015.22.
  • Gregory, P.J., Bishop G.J., Fountain, M., Harrison, R.J. and Saville, R.J. (2013). One hundred years of research at East Malling: science into practice for perennial fruit crops. Annals of Appl. Biol. 163. 1-11.
  • Gregory, P.J., Atkinson, C.J., Bengough, A.G., Else, M.A., Fernández-Fernández, F., Harrison, R.J. and Schmidt, S. (2013). Contributions of roots and rootstocks to sustainable, intensified crop production J Exp Bot. 64. 1209-1222.
  • Harrison RJ . (2012). Understanding genetic variation and function - The applications of next generation sequencing. Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology 23(2). 230-6.
  • Sargent, D.J., Passey, T., Šurbanovski N., Lopez Girona E., Kuchta P., Davik J., Harrison R., Passey, A.J., Whitehouse, A.B., Simpson, D.W. (2012). A microsatellite linkage map for the cultivated strawberry (Fragaria x ananassa) reveals extensive regions of homozygosity in the genome resulting from breeding and selection. Theoretical and Applied Genetics 124. 1229-1240.
  • Lohse K, Harrison R and Barton N.H . (2011).  A general method for calculating likelihoods under the coalescent process. Genetics 189(3). 977-87.
  • Harrison N. and Harrison R.J. (2011). Correspondence: Re Velasco et.al. On the evolutionary history of the domestic apple. Nature Genetics Oct 27;43(11). 1043-4.
  • Harrison R.J. and Charlesworth B . (2010). Biased gene conversion affects patterns of codon usage and amino acid usage in the Saccharomyces senso-strictu group of yeasts. Mol Biol Evol. 2011 Jan; 28 (1). 117-29.