Horasman Febrico Habeahan

+44 (0)191 334 41271

Department of Biosciences Durham University

Supervisors: Dr Adrian Brennan, Professor Rus Hoelzel and Dr Catherine Kidner

Plant genetics and physiology have been my main research interests since starting my undergraduate at Canterbury Christ Church University and my Master of Research at the University of Liverpool. With my previous work on physiological observations of plants under different stresses, I realised the potential for improvement under different conditions, especially for agriculture. Cultivated species have been found to be distinct since they are intensively bred specifically for just a few traits. In comparison, wild relatives of cultivars could provide a wider genepool. This may be due to the difference in their breeding strategies. This distinction could provide genetic variation, which is of use to cultivated plants, improving their performance and tolerance. This could in turn improve their potential in agriculture.

Project Title: The evolution of inbreeding depression in wild flax and implications for crop development

With our industrial partner at the Royal Botanical Garden of Edinburgh (RBGE), we strive to pinpoint the genetic diversity of wild flax (Linum bienne) from all over western Europe. We will compare these wild populations with our cultivated flax (Linum usitatissimum) collection both morphologically and genetically. With the addition of Next-Gen Sequencing, we can gather genomic sequence of wild and cultivated flax to be analysed along with observational data of plant performance in the glasshouse and field. We hypothesize that genetic and phenotypic differences between wild and cultivated relatives of flax are significant due to the difference in their breeding strategies.  The aim will be to identify genetic variation underlying differences in plant performance thus potentially improving cultivars. This improvement is important industrially since Linum produces the basic material for production of Linen as well as Linseed oil, useful in the production of industrial resins.

Other activities

Biosciences exhibition in Durham Botanic Garden.

Ecological Genetics Group 63rd Annual meeting in Cambridge. Sponsored by British Ecological Society.

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