Don Grierson (geneticist)

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Don Grierson
Born 1 October 1945 (1945-10) (age 71)
Institutions University of Nottingham
Zhejiang University
Alma mater University of East Anglia
University of Edinburgh
Notable awards FRS (2000)

Don Grierson OBE FRS FRSB (born 1 October 1945) is a British geneticist, and Emeritus Professor at University of Nottingham.[1]


He graduated from the University of East Anglia with a degree in Biological Sciences in 1967, after working for a short time in an industrial research lab, he obtained his PhD in Plant Science from the University of Edinburgh in 1972. He was a member of academic staff at University of Nottingham for over 40 years where he obtained a DSc degree in 1999. He was the founding professor of the School of Biosciences before becoming Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research. His daughter Claire Grierson is also a geneticist specialising in plant root-hair cells, and a Professor at Bristol University.[2]

Don Grierson discovered several plant genes and studied their role in tomato ripening. He also was the first to identify and characterise genes for ACC oxidase (ACO) and demonstrated its role in the synthesis of the hormone ethylene.[3] Grierson was among the first to achieve silencing of plant genes in transgenic plants using antisense (1988, 1990)[4] and sense genes (1990). He was involved in creating a genetically modified tomato in the 1990s which ripened more slowly, a tomato purée made from the tomatoes was the first genetically modified food to be sold in the UK.[5]

Don Grierson was elected fellow of the Institute of Biology in 1985, awarded a research medal by the Royal Agricultural Society of England for “outstanding research in agriculture” in 1990. In 2000 he was made an honorary Doctor of Science, National Polytechnic, Toulouse, elected fellow of the Royal Society and received an award of OBE by the British Cabinet Office for "services to plant gene regulation".[6] In 2001 he received the Bertebos Prize, from the Royal Swedish Academy for Agriculture & Forestry for “pioneering research in modern plant biotechnology". He is now an emeritus professor at Nottingham and also has a part-time position as Guang Biao professor at Zhejiang University.


  1. ^ "Professor Don Grierson". University of Nottingham. Retrieved December 31, 2011. 
  2. ^ "Don Grierson". 2009-02-04. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  3. ^ Lalit M. Srivastava (27 August 2002). Plant Growth and Development: Hormones and Environment. Academic Press. pp. 238–. ISBN 978-0-08-051403-1. Retrieved 24 April 2013. 
  4. ^ Anne Simon Moffat (November–December 1988). "Researchers Pursue "Anti-Sense" Technology In Quest for Novel Drugs and Agriproducts". Genetic Engineering and Biotech News. 
  5. ^ "A puree genius at his work". Times Higher Education. 1998-07-17. Retrieved 2010-08-23. 
  6. ^ "The Queen's Birthday Honours - OBEs: A - K". BBC. 2000-06-16.