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Dr Chris Thorogood wins Linnean Society of London prize

28 May 2010

Congratulations to Dr Chris Thorogood who has been awarded the Linnean Society of London’s Irene Manton Prize in recognition of his thesis “Host specificity and speciation in the holoparsitic angiosperm Orobanche minorsm. (Orobanchaceae)".

Congratulations to Dr Chris Thorogood who has been awarded the Linnean Society of London’s Irene Manton Prize in recognition of his thesis “Host specificity and speciation in the holoparsitic angiosperm Orobanche minorsm. (Orobanchaceae)". This prestigious prize is awarded for the best thesis in botany examined for a doctorate of philosophy during a single academic year. The prize is in the form of a piece of sculpture or other work of fine art, to which the Linnean Society of London has added the sum of £1000. Chris will be presented with the prize at the Society's Anniversary Meeting on 24th May 2010.

Dr Chris Thorogood conducted his doctoral research under the supervision of Professor Simon Hiscock. This research was largely based on his own ideas and his passionate interest in parasitic plants, particularly broomrapes.

In his thesis, Dr Thorogood showed for the first time, that patterns of genetic diversification are driven by shifts in host specificity and that taxonomic complexity reflects specificity or preference to particular host plants and ongoing speciation. Chris developed a bioassay system (“rhizotrons”) that allowed him to directly measure and compare parasite fitness on different host plants and these physiological data provided direct support for the phylogenetic groupings identified by molecular genetic analyses.

In addition to his scientific achievements, Chris is also a botanical illustrator and has exhibited botanical watercolour and oil paintings at the Bristol Botanic Garden.  He used these skills to illustrate parts of his thesis with pen and ink drawings of floral anatomy, and other features of parasite morphology

See: The Irene Manton Prize (The Linnean Society of London)

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