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Don Foster MP and Marie Schruff

Internal News - 24 March 2005

Marie presents work on mutant plant to MPs

Biology PhD student Marie Schruff got the chance to present her work on a mutant plant to MPs, Peers and senior scientists at the House of Commons recently.

Marie took part in the annual SET for Britain (Science and Technology) reception, where young researchers have the opportunity to present their work. SET for Britain aims to increase general awareness of scientific research by encouraging scientists to communicate in more general terms, so appealing to a lay audience.

Don Foster, the MP for Bath, attended and Marie was able to talk him through her project entitled Big Seed Technology. Marie, who is in her final year under the supervision of Professor Rod Scott, is studying a mutant of a model plant (Arabidopsis thaliana) which produces large seeds.

Understanding how the size increase is achieved and which genes are responsible for the increase would help scientists understand how a significant yield increase could be achieved in economically valuable crops such as maize or wheat.

The project is funded by the Sulis Seedcorn Fund, an investment fund based at the Universities of Bath, Bristol and Southampton which supports the early stage commercialisation of research.

“Don Foster was very happy to attend, and despite a tight schedule he took a few minutes to chat and let me talk him through my work - it was a very warm and encouraging encounter,” said Marie.