Chris J. Leaver

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Chris Leaver

Christopher John Leaver

(1942-05-31) 31 May 1942 (age 80)[1]
EducationLyme Regis Grammar School
Alma materImperial College London (BSc, PhD)[2]
AwardsEMBO Membership (1982)[3]
Fulbright Scholarship (1966)
Scientific career
Plant physiology
Molecular biology
ThesisThe correlation between nucleic acid synthesis and induced enzyme activity in plant tissue slices (1966)
Doctoral students
InfluencesAnthony Trewavas[7]
InfluencedDavid Baulcombe[8]

Christopher John Leaver CBE FRS FRSE MAE (born 31 May 1942)[1] is an Emeritus Professorial Fellow of St John's College, Oxford[9][10] who served as Sibthorpian Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of Oxford from 1990 to 2007.[11][12][13]


Leaver was educated at Lyme Regis Grammar School and Imperial College London[1] where he was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree (first class) followed by a PhD in plant physiology in 1966.[2]

Career and research[edit]

Leaver's area of expertise is in plant biochemistry, development, plant physiology and signalling;[9][14][15] before his current positions, he has at the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology at Purdue University[16] and the University of Edinburgh.[17][7] During his career, Leaver held the following positions:

Awards and honours[edit]

Leaver was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 1986.[19] His nomination reads:

Distinguished for his contributions to unravelling the role of nucleic acids in the development of higher plants. Leaver was the first person to isolate nucleic acids from higher plants in 1964, and produced the first description of the pathway of cytoplasmic ribosomal RNA synthesis. He discovered a novel species of 4.5S RNA in chloroplast ribosomes, and with W, Bottomley developed the coupled transcription-translation system now used in the analysis of chloroplast DNA. He established that the synthesis of glyoxysomal enzymes in cucumber seedlings is under transcriptional control. His more recent and innovative work concerns the structure, information content and expression of the plant mitochondrial genome, a field he has pioneered. He was the first to isolate plant mitochondrial ribosomes, establish their unique RNA composition, and develop the standard system now used for protein synthesis by isolated plant mitochondria. His work has produced strong evidence linking the agriculturally important trait of cytoplasmic male sterility in maize and sorghum with mutations in the mitochondrial genome which lead to the production of variant polypeptides. As well as isolating several protein-encoding plant mitochondrial genes, he has identified, cloned and sequenced the first nuclear gene for a plant mitochondrial protein.[19]

Leaver was also awarded EMBO Membership in 1982,[3] elected a member of the Academia Europaea in 1989[20] and appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Leaver's Who's Who entry lists his recreations as “walking and talking in Upper Coquetdale” in Northumberland.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Anon (2017). "Leaver, Prof. Christopher John". Who's Who. (online Oxford University Press ed.). A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U24069. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  2. ^ a b Leaver, Christopher John (1966). The correlation between nucleic acid synthesis and induced enzyme activity in plant tissue slices. (PhD thesis). University of London (Queen Elizabeth College and Imperial College of Science and Technology). OCLC 681131873.
  3. ^ a b Anon (1982). "EMBO Member: Christopher J. Leaver". European Molecular Biology Organization. Archived from the original on 5 August 2017.
  4. ^ Graham, Ian Alexander (1989). Structure and function of the cucumber malate synthase gene and expression during plant development. (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. hdl:1842/12057. OCLC 557195389. EThOS open access
  5. ^ Graham, Ian A.; Smith, Laura M.; Brown, John W. S.; Leaver, Christopher J.; Smith, Steven M. (1989). "The malate synthase gene of cucumber". Plant Molecular Biology. 13 (6): 673–684. doi:10.1007/BF00016022. PMID 2491683. S2CID 23684986.
  6. ^ Hill, Steven Arthur (1990). The regulation of mitochondrial function during early seedling development in cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.). (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. hdl:1842/14071. OCLC 606083438. EThOS icon of an open green padlock
  7. ^ a b Trewavas, A; Leaver, CJ (2001). "Is opposition to GM crops science or politics? An investigation into the arguments that GM crops pose a particular threat to the environment". EMBO Reports. 2 (6): 455–9. doi:10.1093/embo-reports/kve123. PMC 1083916. PMID 11415971.
  8. ^ Baulcombe, David (1976). The processing and intracellular transport of messenger RNA in a higher plant. (PhD thesis). University of Edinburgh. hdl:1842/14914. OCLC 1064538979. EThOS open access
  9. ^ a b Chris J. Leaver publications indexed by Google Scholar Edit this at Wikidata
  10. ^ Chris J. Leaver publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  11. ^ Balk, J.; Leaver, C.; McCabe, P. (1999). "Translocation of cytochrome c from the mitochondria to the cytosol occurs during heat-induced programmed cell death in cucumber plants". FEBS Letters. 463 (1–2): 151–154. doi:10.1016/S0014-5793(99)01611-7. PMID 10601657.
  12. ^ Alpi, A.; Amrhein, N.; Bertl, A.; Blatt, M.; Blumwald, E.; Cervone, F.; Dainty, J.; De Michelis, M.; Epstein, E.; Galston, A. W.; Goldsmith, M. H. M.; Hawes, C.; Hell, R. D.; Hetherington, A.; Hofte, H.; Juergens, G.; Leaver, C. J.; Moroni, A.; Murphy, A.; Oparka, K.; Perata, P.; Quader, H.; Rausch, T.; Ritzenthaler, C.; Rivetta, A.; Robinson, D. G.; Sanders, D.; Scheres, B.; Schumacher, K.; Sentenac, H. (2007). "Plant neurobiology: no brain, no gain?". Trends in Plant Science. 12 (4): 135–136. doi:10.1016/j.tplants.2007.03.002. PMID 17368081.
  13. ^ Swidzinski, J.; Sweetlove, L.; Leaver, C. (2002). "A custom microarray analysis of gene expression during programmed cell death in Arabidopsis thaliana". The Plant Journal. 30 (4): 431–446. doi:10.1046/j.1365-313x.2002.01301.x. PMID 12028573.
  14. ^ Fox, T. D.; Leaver, C. J. (1981). "The zea mays mitochondrial gene coding cytochrome oxidase subunit II has an intervening sequence and does not contain TGA codons". Cell. 26 (3): 315–323. doi:10.1016/0092-8674(81)90200-2. PMID 6276012. S2CID 41661616.
  15. ^ May, M. J.; Vernoux, T.; Leaver, C.; Montagu, M. V.; Inze, D. (1998). "Glutathione homeostasis in plants: Implications for environmental sensing and plant development". Journal of Experimental Botany. 49 (321): 649–667. doi:10.1093/jxb/49.321.649.
  16. ^ Leaver, C.; Key, J. (1967). "Polyribosome formation and RNA synthesis during aging of carrot-root tissue". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 57 (5): 1338–1344. Bibcode:1967PNAS...57.1338L. doi:10.1073/pnas.57.5.1338. PMC 224477. PMID 5231738.
  17. ^ Leaver, C.; Ingle, J. (1971). "The molecular integrity of chloroplast ribosomal ribonucleic acid". The Biochemical Journal. 123 (2): 235–243. doi:10.1042/bj1230235. PMC 1176928. PMID 5001778.
  18. ^ Anon (2009). "Imperial College Hornsund Expedition, 1962". Polar Record. 11 (74): 596. doi:10.1017/S0032247400055728. S2CID 251061959.
  19. ^ a b Anon (1986). "EC/1986/22: Leaver, Christopher John". Royal Society. Archived from the original on 4 January 2014.
  20. ^ "Christopher Leaver MAE". Academy of Europe.