David A Jones

Emeritus Professor

Ph.D. University of Oxford, 1963

Research Interests

For many years I have been interested in the ecological genetics of cyanogenesis in plants. This has pioneered the study of plant/herbivore interactions mediated by plant chemistry, with the bonus of showing how it is possible to use genetics to prove chemical defense by plants. It has been known for many years that some plants are cyanogenic and whole conferences have been held to discuss cyanogenics in cassava. We now know that 16 of the 24 most important food plants are cyanogenic. Field research on cyanogenic plants has highlighted the need to be able to identify, not only individual perennial forbs from year to year, but also the male parents of seeds collected from wild plants. I am interested in the ecological genetics of flower colours and consequently in the colour of flowers as perceived by bees. Techniques for measurement of temperature within flowers are being developed with Dr. T. J. Crawford, University of York, UK. I have also been continuing the long-term study of the scarlet tiger moth at Cothill Fen near Oxford in England.

Representative Publications

  • 2008. Compton, S. G. A. and Jones, D.A. The Lotus Eaters: a Naturalists’ Handbook.
  • 200?. Jones, D. A. Back from the green desert of the American lawn: an experiment in Florida. Pp. xxx-xxx in M. Aleksiuk and T. Nelson (eds) Nature, Environment and Me; Personal Explorations in a Changing World. Accepted for publication.
  • 2002. Jones, D.A. Cyanogenesis and gene transfer – a defense strategy that may prove counterproductive. SAAS Bulletin: Biochemistry and Biotechnology, 15, 25-33.
  • 2000. Jones, D. A. Temperatures in the Cothill habitat of the Scarlet Tiger moth, Panaxia (Callimorpha) dominula L. Heredity, 84, 578-586.
  • 1999. Jones, D. A. The cost of anti-herbivore defense in cyanogenic plants. In Preparation.
  • 1999. Jones, D. A. and Cook, L. M. Temperature effects and the medionigra phenotype of Panaxia dominula L. Oikos, 87, 175-180.
  • 1999. Jones, D. A. Back from the green desert of the American lawn: an experiment in Florida. Pp. xxx-xxx in M. Aleksiuk and T. Nelson (eds) Nature, Environment and Me; Personal Explorations in a Changing World. Accepted for publication.
  • 1999. Jones, D. A. Natural Pesticides and the Evolution of the Major Human Food Plants. Pesticide Science, 55 ,633-675.
  • 1998. Jones, D. A. Why are so many food plants cyanogenic? Phytochemistry, 47, 155-162.
  • 1996. Cook, L.M. and D.A. Jones. The medionigra gene in the moth Panaxia dominula: the case for selection. Philosophical Transaction of the Royal Society B, 351, 1623-1634.
  • 1993. Jones, D. A. The phenotype and frequency of f. medionigra of Panaxia dominula L. (Lepidoptera:Arctiidae) at Cothill, Oxfordshire, England, 1988-1991. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 49, 305-316.
  • 1992. Lewis, D. and D. A Jones. The genetics of heterostyly. Pp. 129-150 in S.C.H. Barrett (ed.) Evolution and Function of Heterostyly. Springer-Verlag.
  • 1988. Jones, D. A. Cyanogenesis in animal/plant interactions. Pp. 151-170 in D. Evered and S. Harnett (eds) Cyanide Compounds in Biology Ciba Foundation Symposium 140, J. Wiley.
  • 1988. Compton, S. G., S. G. Beesley and D. A. Jones. Variation in the colour of the keel petals in Lotus corniculatus L. 5. Successional differences in the distribution of dark-keeled plants. Heredity, 61, 235-245.