Prof Huw Jones

BSc. MSc. PhD

Prof Huw Jones

Chair in Translational Genomics for Plant Breeding

Department of Life Sciences

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 and the Defra Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment. 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

  • Forage Crops


Martínez-Fortún, J, Phillips, DW & Jones, HD 2022, 'Natural and artificial sources of genetic variation used in crop breeding: A baseline comparator for genome editing', Frontiers in Genome Editing, vol. 4, 937853. 10.3389/fgeed.2022.937853
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, vol. 94, no. 4, 1555. 10.1007/s10340-021-01393-0
Jones, HD 2021, Gene Silencing or Gene Editing: The Pros and Cons. in RNAi for Plant Improvement and Protection. CABI Publishing, pp. 47-53. 10.1079/9781789248890.0006
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. 10.3389/fpls.2020.00940
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. 10.1038/s41598-020-70532-x
More publications on the Research Portal