My main research area is genetics and genomics, focusing on polyploidy, interspecific hybridisation and evolution. I am particularly interested in how new species evolve through hybridisation, i.e. how two species can come together to form a new species with genetic information from both parent species. This process is now known to be very common, particularly in the flowering plants, and is responsible for many of our agriculturally significant food crops. Examples of hybrid or many-genome (polyploid) species include wheat, potato, sugarcane, banana and canola.
The Brassica genus, which includes many important crops such as canola, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, turnip and mustards, provides an excellent model with which to explore the process of hybrid species formation. The species which comprises canola (B. napus), for instance, is an evolutionary hybrid between the species containing our cultivated cabbages (B. oleracea) and the species containing turnip, buk choy and other related vegetable types (B. rapa).
By investigating how hybrid species form, I hope to work out how to utilise these natural evolutionary processes for human agricultural benefit, making new Brassica crop types for food, oil and biofuel. Hybridisation and genome doubling are processes which often result in increased vigour and ability to exploit different environmental niches in nature. Hence, if we can harness these processes to produce new hybrid species, such species may have a wider tolerance of environmental conditions such as heat, drought and disease, which would be beneficial to human agriculture.
2015 – present: Emmy Noether research group leader at Justus Liebig University, Giessen
2017: Habilitation (Justus Liebig University, Giessen)
2012 – 2014: Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) Fellow at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
2011 - 2011: Postdoctoral researcher at The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
2010 – 2011: Australian Endeavour Research Fellow at Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China
2007 – 2010: Doctor of Philosophy at The University of Western Australia, Perth
Molecular marker genotyping
Classical and molecular cytogenetics
Meiosis and chromosome inheritance
Polyploidy and interspecific hybridization
1. Gaebelein R., Schiessl S.V., Samans B., Batley J., Mason A.S. (2019) Inherited allelic variants and novel karyotype changes influence fertility and genome stability in Brassica allohexaploids. New Phytologist 223(2):965-978
2. Mirzaghaderi G., Mason A.S. Revisiting Pivotal-Differential Genome Evolution in Wheat (2017) Trends in Plant Science 22(8), 674-684
3. Mason A.S., Rousseau-Gueutin M., Morice J., Bayer P.E., Besharat N., Cousin A., Pradhan A., Parkin I.A.P., Chèvre A.-M., Batley J., Nelson M.N. (2016) Centromere locations in Brassica A and C genomes revealed through half-tetrad analysis. Genetics 202, 513-523
4. Mason A.S., Batley J. (2015) Creating new interspecific hybrid and polyploid crops. Trends in Biotechnology 33 (8), 436-441
5. Mason A.S., Pires J.C. (2015) Unreduced gametes: meiotic mishap or evolutionary mechanism? Trends in Genetics 31 (1), 5-10
2019 - 2022 DFG - "Tetraploid turnips: towards autopolyploid Brassica crops"
2017 - 2020 DFG - "Towards new Brassica crops: genetic improvement of Brassica hexaploids"
2017 - 2020 DFG - "Recreating genomically stable rapeseed"
2015 - 2020 DFG Emmy Noether - "Hybrid speciation in Brassica"
2013 - 2016 Australia-India Strategic Research Fund: Biotechnology - "Creating a new Brassica crop species for food and biofuel"
2013 - 2013 University of Queensland Early Career Researcher Award - "Evolution of species through chromosome change"
2012 - 2014 Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (ARC DECRA): "New Brassica crop species through evolutionary breeding"
Awards and Scholarships
2018 Justus Liebig University prize (for Habilitation thesis)
2013 CASS Foundation Travel grant
2012 AAS - France-Australia Science Innovation Collaboration (FASIC) Program Early Career Fellowships
2012 Grains Research and Development Council (GRDC) Travel Award
2010 Australian Endeavour Research Fellowship
2009 School of Plant Biology Postgraduate Conference prize for best student presentation
2009 Convocation Postgraduate Travel Award
2008 Mike Carroll Travelling Fellowship
2007 Canola Breeders Western Australia (CBWA) prize for best student presentation
2006 Value Added Wheat CRC 4th year/Honours student prize
Dr. Annaliese S. Mason
Plant Breeding Department
IFZ Research Centre for Biosystems, Land Use and Nutrition
Justus Liebig University
35392 Giessen, Germany
Tel: +49 641 99 37542