Lorna Casselton

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Lorna Casselton
Lorna Casselton (4427987466).jpg
Born Lorna Ann Smith
(1938-07-18)18 July 1938[1]
Rochford, Essex, England
Died 14 February 2014(2014-02-14) (aged 75)
Oxford, England
Alma mater University College London[1]
Known for genetic and molecular analysis of mushrooms
  • Peter John Casselton (d. 1978);
  • William Joseph Dennis Tollett (m. 1981)[1]
Scientific career
Thesis The production, behaviour and genetics of diploids of Coprinus lagopus (1964)
Doctoral advisor Dan Lewis[2][3]
Website royalsociety.org/people/lorna-casselton

Lorna Ann Casselton, CBE, FRS (18 July 1938 – 14 February 2014) was a British academic and biologist. She was Professor Emeritus of Fungal Genetics in the Department of Plant Science at the University of Oxford, and was known for her genetic and molecular analysis of the mushroom Coprinus cinereus[4][5] and Coprinus lagopus.[6][7][8][9][10]

Early life[edit]

Casselton was born on 18 July 1938 in Rochford, Essex[11] to William Charles Henry Smith and Cecile Smith (née Bowman).[10] Her parents' smallholding and her father's interest in natural history and genetics encouraged her and her sister Pauline in the direction of biology.[10] She was educated at Southend High School for Girls, a grammar school in Southend-on-Sea.[12] She studied at University College London, from which she gained a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree in botany and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree in 1964.[9][13][14]

Academic career[edit]

Casselton began her career in lecturing and research as an assistant lecturer at Royal Holloway College in London. She was Professor of Genetics at Queen Mary University of London from 1989 to 1991 and was later awarded an AFRC/BBSRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, followed by a BBSRC Senior Research Fellowship in 1995.[5]

Casselton was a Fellow of St Cross College Oxford from 1993 to 2003, and was appointed Professor of Fungal Genetics at Oxford in 1997. Her specialism was sexual development in fungi and she contributed to over 100 publications on this topic.[15] She was a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford from 1993 to 2003, and an Honorary Fellow of St Hilda's College, Oxford from 2000. She was a member of the Royal Society's Council from 2002 to 2003, and rejoined the Council in 2006 as Vice-President and Foreign Secretary, replacing Professor Dame Julia Higgins.[5][15]

As Foreign Secretary of the Royal Society, Casselton gave the Royal Society Rutherford Lecture in South Africa and the Blackett Lecture in India, travelling to 27 different countries during three and a half years in office.[16]

Personal life[edit]

She married Peter John Casselton in 1961, divorcing him in 1978. She married William Joseph Dennis Tollett in 1981.[1] She died after a short illness, aged 75.[17]

Awards and honours[edit]

She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1999. She became a Member of the Academia Europaea in 2008, and was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Science by Queen Mary College, University of London in 2009 and University College London in September 2010.[16] She was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for services to fungal genetics and international science.[18] Her nomination for the Royal Society reads:

The British Mycological Society awarded her an Honorary Membership in 2002.[10]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Stajich, JE., and 49 others, "Insights into evolution of multicellular fungi from the assembled chromosomes of the mushroom Coprinopsis cinerea (Coprinus cinereus).[20]" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), Vol 107 (2010) pp. 11889–11894
  • Riquelme, M., Challen, MP., Casselton, LA., Brown, AJ. "The origin of multiple B mating specificities in Coprinus cinereus.[21]" Genetics, Vol 170 (2005) pp. 1105–1119
  • Casselton, LA. (2002). "Mate recognition in fungi". Heredity. 88 (2): 142–147. doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6800035. PMID 11932772.
  • Brown, AJ; Casselton, LA. (2001). "Mating in mushrooms: increasing the chances but prolonging the affair". Trends in Genetics. 17: 393–400. doi:10.1016/s0168-9525(01)02343-5.
  • Olesnicky, NS.; Brown, AJ.; Dowell, SJ.; Casselton, LA. (1999). "A constitutively active G-protein-coupled receptor causes mating self-compatibility in the mushroom Coprinus". EMBO Journal. 18: 2756–2763. doi:10.1093/emboj/18.10.2756. PMC 1171357.
  • Casselton, LA.; Olesnicky, NS. (1998). "Molecular genetics of mating recognition in basidiomycete fungi". Microbiology and Molecular Biology Reviews. 62: 55–70. PMC 98906. PMID 9529887.
  • Banham, AH.; Asanteowusu, RN.; Casselton, LA. (1995). "An N-terminal dimerization domain permits homeodomain proteins to choose compatible partners and initiate sexual development in the mushroom Coprinus cinereus". Plant Cell. 7: 773–783. doi:10.1105/tpc.7.6.773. PMC 160831. PMID 12242384.
  • Kues, U.; Casselton, LA. (1992). "Fungal mating type genes - regulators of sexual development". Mycological Research. 96: 993–1006. doi:10.1016/s0953-7562(09)80107-x.
  • Kues, U.; Richardson, WVJ; Casselton, LA. (1992). "The combination of dissimilar alleles of the A-alpha and A-beta gene complexes, whose proteins contain homeo domain motifs, determines sexual development in the mushroom Coprinus cinereus". Genes & Development. 6: 568–577. doi:10.1101/gad.6.4.568.
  • Binninger, DM.; Skrzynia, C.; Pukkila, PJ.; Casselton, LA. (1987). "DNA-mediated transformation of the basidiomycete Coprinus cinereus". EMBO Journal. 6: 835–840.
  • Sealy-Lewis, HM.; Casselton, LA. (1978). "Restoration of enzyme activity by recessive missense suppressors in fungus Coprinus". Molecular and General Genetics. 164: 211–215. doi:10.1007/bf00267386.
  • Casselton, LA.; Lewis, D. "Dilution of gene products in cytoplasm of heterokaryons in Coprinus lagopus"". Genetical Research. 9: 63. doi:10.1017/s0016672300010314.
  • Casselton, LA. (1965). "Production and behaviour of diploids of Coprinus lagopus". Genetical Research. 6: 190. doi:10.1017/s0016672300004080.


  1. ^ a b c d "CASSELTON, Prof. Lorna Ann, (Mrs W. J. D. Tollett)". Who's Who 2014, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2014; online edn, Oxford University Press.(subscription required)
  2. ^ Casselton, L. A.; Jones, D. A. (2012). "Dan Lewis. 30 December 1910 – 30 September 2009". Biographical Memoirs of Fellows of the Royal Society. 58: 163–178. doi:10.1098/rsbm.2011.0023.
  3. ^ [Professor Lorna Casselton CBE FRS http://www.ucl.ac.uk/gee/gee-news-publication/news-2014/lorna-casselton-1938-2014], University College London
  4. ^ Casselton, L. A.; Olesnicky, N. S. (1998). "Molecular genetics of mating recognition in basidiomycete fungi". Microbiology and molecular biology reviews : MMBR. 62 (1): 55–70. PMC 98906. PMID 9529887.
  5. ^ a b c http://royalsociety.org/people/lorna-casselton/ Casselton's biography on the Royal Society website
  6. ^ Casselton, L. A. (2009). "The production and behaviour of diploids of Coprinus lagopus". Genetical Research. 6 (2): 190. doi:10.1017/S0016672300004080.
  7. ^ Lewis, D.; Casselton, L. A. (1975). "Missense suppression in Coprinus lagopus associated with a chromosome duplication". Journal of General Microbiology. 88 (1): 20–26. doi:10.1099/00221287-88-1-20. PMID 1097583.
  8. ^ Casselton, L. A.; Lewis, D. (1966). "Compatibility and stability of diploids in Coprinus lagopus". Genetical research. 8 (1): 61–72. doi:10.1017/s0016672300009915. PMID 5947646.
  9. ^ a b Casselton's profile on Debrett's
  10. ^ a b c d Lorna Casselton obituary: Researcher into the genetic basis of fungal mating, The Guardian, 31 March 2014
  11. ^ Lorna Casselton obituary The Guardian, 31 March 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Professor Lorna Casselton". The Times. 27 March 2014. Retrieved 28 March 2014.
  13. ^ Casselton, Lorna (1964). The production, behaviour and genetics of diploids of Coprinus lagopus (PhD thesis). University College London.(subscription required)
  14. ^ Shahriari, H.; Casselton, L. A. (1974). "Suppression of methionine mutants in Coprinus". MGG Molecular & General Genetics. 134: 85–92. doi:10.1007/BF00332815.
  15. ^ a b "Plant Sciences Staff Professor Lorna A. Casselton". Archived from the original on 28 February 2012.
  16. ^ a b Staff. "Honorary Graduates of UCL". University College London. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  17. ^ St Cross College, Oxford Megan Palmer, 18 February 2014. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  18. ^ "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 7.
  19. ^ "EC/1999/07: Casselton, Lorna Ann. Royal Society Library and Archive Catalogue". London: The Royal Society. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014.
  20. ^ Stajich, Jason E (29 June 2010). "Insights into evolution of multicellular fungi from the assembled chromosomes of the mushroom Coprinopsis cinerea (Coprinus cinereus)". PNAS. 107 (26): 11889–11894. doi:10.1073/pnas.1003391107. PMC 2900686. PMID 20547848.
  21. ^ Riquelme, M (July 2005). "The origin of multiple B mating specificities in Coprinus cinereus". Genetics. 170 (3): 1105–1119. doi:10.1534/genetics.105.040774. PMC 1451185. PMID 15879506.