Prof Huw Jones

BSc. MSc. PhD

Prof Huw Jones

Chair in Translational Genomics for Plant Breeding


Contact Details


I did a PhD at Bristol University in molecular biology and intracellular signalling and worked at Long Ashton Research Station from 1992-1998. I then moved to Rothamsted Research to take up a position as Senior Research Scientist and group leader until 2016 when I joined IBERS. I have an international reputation in developing and applying in-vitro tissue culture and biotechnological approaches to study gene function and to facilitate plant breeding. I have experience applying these in cereals and also poplar and willow; however, in my role at IBERS, I focus on forage grasses and clovers. I have particular interests in gene editing using site-directed nucleases and in RNAi mediated gene silencing to simultaneously edit or down-regulate homoeologous genes in polyploid genomes; also in exploiting chloroplast inheritance, doubled haploidy and heterosis for plant breeding. I have significant experience in risk-assessment and regulatory aspects of biotechnology. I currently sit on the UK Food Standard Agency's Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes. As an expert member of the GMO panel European Food Safety Authority (2009-2018, the last two yeas as vice-chair), I co-authored more than 150 scientific risk assessment opinions and technical guidance documents. I have also held two Defra licences for non-commercial, field trials of GM wheat in the UK. I was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology in 2002. 

I have held the following positions: Member of BBSRC pool of experts, Jan 2017 – current, Honorary Scientist, Rothamsted Research, 2016 – 2019, Honorary Professor, School of Biosciences, Nottingham University, 2009 – 2018, Chair, UK Plant Sciences Federation Working Group on Regulatory Frameworks, 2014-2015, Member of the Expert Working Group on Wheat Breeding Methods and Strategies. International Wheat Initiative. 2014 – current, BBSRC Global Food Security Programme Communication Group. 2013 – 2016, Monogram steering committee, 2011 – 2015, BBC Rural Affairs Committee, 2012 – 2013, Plant physiology and Crop Improvement Group AAB 2007- 2013, British Crop Protection Council, Science Strategy Board. 2004 – 2008, Institute of Biology, Agricultural Sciences Committee. 2001 – 2004, judging panel for BBSRC Small Grants for Public Engagements 2004 – 2009,  Member of Advisory Group on BBSRC Response to Public Concerns. 2002-2005.



Breeding methodologies; plant tissue culture and biotechnology; plant functional genomics.

Research Groups

  • Plant Breeding for the Future


Mezzetti, B, Smagghe, G, Arpaia, S, Christiaens, O, Dietz-Pfeilstetter, A, Jones, H, Kostov, K, Sabbadini, S, Opsahl-Sorteberg, HG, Ventura, V, Taning, CNT & Sweet, J 2021, 'Correction to: RNAi, what is its position in crop protection? (Journal of Pest Science, (2020), 93, 4, (1125-1130), 10.1007/s10340-020-01238-2)', Journal of Pest Science.
Arpaia, S, Christiaens, O, Giddings, K, Jones, H, Mezzetti, B, Moronta-Barrios, F, Perry, JN, Sweet, JB, Taning, CNT, Smagghe, G & Dietz-Pfeilstetter, A 2020, 'Biosafety of GM Crop Plants Expressing dsRNA: Data Requirements and EU Regulatory Considerations', Frontiers in Plant Science, vol. 11, 940.
Fenton, D, Phillips, D, Maddison, A, H. George, C, Ryves, J & D. Jones, H 2020, 'Cupid, a cell permeable peptide derived from amoeba, capable of delivering GFP into a diverse range of species', Scientific Reports, vol. 10, no. 1, 13725.
Mezzetti, B, Smagghe, G, Arpaia, S, Christiaens, O, Dietz-Pfeilstetter, A, Jones, H, Kostov, K, Sabbadini, S, Opsahl-Sorteberg, HG, Ventura, V, Taning, CNT & Sweet, J 2020, 'RNAi: What is its position in agriculture?', Journal of Pest Science, vol. 93, no. 4, pp. 1125-1130.
Clifton-Brown, J, Harfouche, A, Casler, M, Jones, H, MacAlpine, WJ, Murphy-Bokern, D, Smart, L, Adler, A, Ashman, CR, Awty-Carroll, D, Bastien, C, Bopper, S, Botnari, V, Brancourt-Hulmel, M, Chen, Z, Clark, L, Cosentino, S, Dalton, S, Davey, C, Dolstra, O, Donnison, I, Flavell, R, Greef, JM, Hanley, S, Hastings, A, Hertzberg, M, Hsu, TW, Huang, L, Iurato, A, Jensen, E, Jin, X, Jørgensen, U, Kiesel, A, Kim, D-S, Liu, J, McCalmont, JP, McMahon, GG, Mos, M, Robson, P, Sacks, EJ, Sandu, A, Scalici, G, Schwarz, K, Scordia, D, Shafiei, R, Shield, IF, Slavov, G, Stanton, B, Swaminathan, K, Taylor, G, Torres, AF, Trindade, LM, Tschaplinski, T, Tuskan, J, Yamada, T, Yu, CY, Zalesny, R-F, Zong, J & Lewandowski, I 2019, 'Breeding progress and preparedness for mass‐scale deployment of perennial lignocellulosic biomass crops switchgrass, miscanthus, willow and poplar', GCB Bioenergy, vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 118-151.
More publications on the Research Portal