Paul Wilkin

Paul Wilkin
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

About

161
Publications
70,537
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4,080
Citations
Citations since 2017
58 Research Items
2238 Citations
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20172018201920202021202220230100200300400500

Publications

Publications (161)
Article
Background and aims Among the numerous pantropical species of the yam genus, Dioscorea, only a small group occurs in the Mediterranean basin, including two narrow Pyrenean endemics (Borderea clade), and two Mediterranean-wide species (D. communis and D. orientalis, Tamus clade). However, several currently unrecognized species and infraspecific taxa...
Article
Full-text available
Madagascar's biota is hyperdiverse and includes exceptional levels of endemicity. We review the current state of knowledge on Madagascar's past and current terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity by compiling and presenting comprehensive data on species diversity, endemism, and rates of species description and human uses, in addition to presenting...
Article
Full-text available
Madagascar's unique biota is heavily affected by human activity and is under intense threat. Here, we review the current state of knowledge on the conservation status of Madagascar's terrestrial and freshwater biodiversity by presenting data and analyses on documented and predicted species-level conservation statuses, the most prevalent and relevan...
Article
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Plants, People, Planet was launched in July 2017 at the International Botanical Congress in Shenzhen, China. An important output from this landmark meeting was the Shenzhen Declaration on plant sciences, which outlined global threats to humanity and detailed seven action points to help create a sustainable future. Here, we consider the societal imp...
Preprint
Background and aims. Among the numerous pantropical species of the yam genus, Dioscorea , only a small group occurs in the Mediterranean basin, including two narrow Pyrenean endemics (Borderea clade), and two Mediterranean-wide species ( D. communis and D. orientalis , Tamus clade). However, several currently unrecognized species and infraspecific...
Preprint
Full-text available
27 • Crop diversity plays a major role in underpinning food security. It is especially important to 28 smallholder and subsistence farmers, who often rely on crop diversity for stable and resilient 29 production. Despite this, global expansion of a small pool of major crops and the associated 30 homogenisation of global agricultural systems may dec...
Preprint
Clonal propagation enables favourable crop genotypes to be rapidly selected and multiplied. However, the absence of sexual propagation can lead to low genetic diversity and accumulation of deleterious mutations, which may eventually render crops less resilient to pathogens or environmental change. To better understand this trade-off, we characteris...
Article
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Hereditary symbioses with bacteria are common in the animal kingdom, but relatively unexplored in plants. Several plant species form associations with bacteria in their leaves, which is called leaf symbiosis.
Preprint
Full-text available
Crop diversity plays a major role in underpinning food security. It is especially important to smallholder and subsistence farmers, who often rely on crop diversity for stable and resilient production. Despite this, global expansion of a small pool of major crops and the associated homogenisation of global agricultural systems may decrease on-farm...
Article
Mesosphaerum suaveolens (L.) Kuntze and Cantinoa americana (Aubl.) Harley & J.F.B.Pastore are two former congeneric Hyptis species used by farmers in West Africa as pesticidal plants for crop protection. This study investigated the nutlet dormancy and thermal requirements for germination of both species to support their cultivation. Our results all...
Article
Full-text available
Loss of sexual reproductive capacity has been proposed as a syndrome of domestication in vegetatively propagated crops, but there are relatively few examples from agricultural systems. In this study, we compare sexual reproductive capacity in wild (sexual) and domesticated (vegetative) populations of enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman), a t...
Article
Full-text available
Enset ( Ensete ventricosum ) is a multipurpose crop extensively cultivated in southern and southwestern Ethiopia for human food, animal feed, and fiber. It has immense contributions to the food security and rural livelihoods of 20 million people. Several distinct enset landraces are cultivated for their uses in traditional medicine. These landraces...
Article
Full-text available
Despite substantial growth in global agricultural production, food and nutritional insecurity is rising in Sub-Saharan Africa. Identification of underutilised indigenous crops with useful food security traits may provide part of the solution. Enset (Ensete ventricosum) is a perennial banana relative with cultivation restricted to southwestern Ethio...
Preprint
Full-text available
Hereditary symbioses have the potential to drive transgenerational effects, yet the mechanisms responsible for transmission of heritable plant symbionts are still poorly understood. The leaf symbiosis between Dioscorea sansibarensis and the bacterium Orrella dioscoreae offers an appealing model system to study how heritable bacteria are transmitted...
Preprint
Full-text available
Despite substantial growth in global agricultural production, food and nutritional insecurity is rising in Sub-Saharan Africa. Identification of underutilised indigenous crops with useful food security traits may provide part of the solution. Enset (Ensete ventricosum) is a perennial banana relative with cultivation restricted to southwestern Ethio...
Article
Full-text available
Digitized molecular data are vital to numerous aspects of scientific research and genetic resource use. The Convention on Biological Diversity currently refers to this as “Digital Sequence Information” (DSI), a term not widely adopted by science and lacking a clear definition. There are concerns over the access to genetic resources and absence of b...
Article
Leaves of the wild yam species Dioscorea sansibarensis display prominent forerunner or "drip" tips filled with extracellular bacteria of the species Orrella dioscoreae.1 This species of yam is native to Madagascar and tropical Africa and reproduces mainly asexually through aerial bulbils and underground tubers, which also contain a small population...
Article
Enabling food security requires access to a broad range of genetic resources to facilitate crop breeding. This need is increased in a climate change scenario, which will require the production of novel crops adapted to new conditions. However, many major crops have reduced genetic diversity due to the genetic bottlenecks that they have experienced...
Book
Full-text available
The Useful Plants and Fungi of Colombia project is a 2.5-year initiative led by Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in collaboration with the Alexander von Humboldt Biological Resources Research Institute. Its aim is to develop pathways to enhance nature’s contribution to people in Colombia by increasing, consolidating and making accessible the knowledge of...
Article
Full-text available
Bioenergy is a major component of the global transition to renewable energy technologies. The plant and fungal kingdoms offer great potential but remain mostly untapped. Their increased use could contribute to the renewable energy transition and addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 "Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sus...
Article
Full-text available
Ensete ventricosum (Musaceae, enset) is an Ethiopian food security crop. To realize the potential of enset for rural livelihoods, further knowledge of enset diversity, genetics and genomics is required to support breeding programs and conservation. This study was conducted to explore the enset genome to develop molecular markers, genomics resources...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background Enset (Ensete ventricosum) is a multipurpose crop extensively cultivated in southern and southwestern Ethiopia for human food, animal feed and fiber. It contributes to the food security and rural livelihoods of 20 million people. Several distinct enset landraces are cultivated for their uses in traditional medicine. Socio-economic change...
Article
Full-text available
Bioenergy is a major component of the global transition to renewable energy technologies. The plant and fungal kingdoms offer great potential but remain mostly untapped. Their increased use could contribute to the renewable energy transition and addressing the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 7 “Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sus...
Preprint
Full-text available
Enset (Ensete ventricosum) is a multipurpose crop extensively cultivated in southern and southwestern Ethiopia for human food, animal feed and fiber. It contributes to the food security and rural livelihoods of 20 million people. Several distinct enset landraces are cultivated for their uses in traditional medicine. Socio-economic changes and the l...
Preprint
Enset (Ensete ventricosum) is a major starch staple and food security crop for 20 million people. Despite substantial diversity in morphology, genetics, agronomy and utilization across its range, nutritional characteristics have only been reported in relatively few landraces. Here, we survey nutritional composition in 22 landraces from three enset...
Preprint
Full-text available
Mapping the distribution of crop pests and pathogens is essential to safeguard food security and sustainable livelihoods. However, these data are unavailable for many neglected and underutilised crops, particularly in developing countries. In Ethiopia, the world's largest historic recipient of food aid, the indigenous banana relative enset (Ensete...
Preprint
Full-text available
PREMISE Loss of sexual reproductive capacity has been proposed as a syndrome of domestication in vegetatively propagated crops, but there are relatively few examples from agricultural systems. Compared to sexually propagated crops banked as seeds, vegetative crop diversity is typically conserved in living collections that are more costly and insecu...
Article
Summary Enset (Ensete ventricosum (Welw.) Cheesman) is the major starch staple of the Ethiopian Highlands, where its unique attributes enhance the food security of approximately 20 million people and have earned it the title “The Tree Against Hunger”. Yet enset-based agriculture is virtually unknown outside of its narrow zone of cultivation, despit...
Article
Societal Impact Statement Enset is a staple food for over 20 million people via its starch-rich corm and pseudostem, yet it is virtually unknown outside a narrow zone of cultivation in southern Ethiopia. Due to acculturation and urbanization coupled with climate change, emerging pests and the introduction of new crops, the extensive indigenous know...
Article
Full-text available
Identification of conservation priorities is essential for conservation planning, especially as the biodiversity crisis develops. We aimed to support conservation prioritisation by addressing knowledge gaps for the genus Aloe in the Horn of Africa. Specifically, we developed a dataset of herbarium voucher specimens and occurrence data to estimate g...
Article
Full-text available
Whole genome duplication (WGD) events are common in many plant lineages, but the ploidy status and possible occurrence of intraspecific ploidy variation are unknown for most species. Standard methods for ploidy determination are chromosome counting and flow cytometry approaches. While flow cytometry approaches typically use fresh tissue, an increas...
Article
In an era of increasing threat most species of plant still lack an assessment of extinction risk or an understanding of priority for conservation. Evolutionary distinctiveness (ED) has been used in conjunction with extinction risk to prioritise species for conservation. We apply this approach to an economically important group of plants in Africa;...
Article
Full-text available
Forest undergrowth plants are tightly connected with the shady and humid conditions that occur under the canopy of tropical forests. However, projected climatic changes, such as decreasing precipitation and increasing temperature, negatively affect understory environments by promoting light‐demanding and drought‐tolerant species. Therefore, we aime...
Book
Full-text available
https://www.kew.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/Sustainable%20wild%20plants.pdf Aimed at practitioners in governmental institutions and NGOs working in Africa and Latin America, this book has been written to promote the conservation and sustainable use of wild multipurpose plant species in conservation, agriculture and forestry projects, addressin...
Chapter
https://www.kew.org/sites/default/files/2019-04/Sustainable%20wild%20plants.pdf Aimed at practitioners in governmental institutions and NGOs working in Africa and Latin America, this book has been written to promote the conservation and sustainable use of wild multipurpose plant species in conservation, agriculture and forestry projects, addressin...
Article
Full-text available
Micromorphological features of the leaf epidermis and the inner structure of leaf tissues of eight arborescent taxa of the genus Dracaena were analysed using light and scanning electron microscopy. The plants are xeromorphic or mesomorphic. Their leaves are isobilateral and amphistomatic, and the stomata are anomocytic and tetracytic. The mesophyll...
Article
Due to its economic value and evolutionary importance among monocots and Dioscoreales, Dioscorea has been extensively studied phylogenetically. All analyses have produced congruent results resolving ten consistent main clades but were based solely on plastid data. Here we present the first phylogenetic tree of Dioscorea based on a low-copy nuclear...
Article
Due to its economic value and evolutionary importance among monocots and Dioscoreales, Dioscorea has been extensively studied phylogenetically. All analyses have produced congruent results resolving ten consistent main clades but were based solely on plastid data. Here we present the first phylogenetic tree of Dioscorea based on a low-copy nuclear...
Article
Full-text available
Morphological character data are used to show that a distinct morphotype of Dioscorea L. from KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa is an undescribed species, related to the D. buchananii Benth. species complex but differing in its inflorescence and floral morphology from all other taxa. It is described as Dioscorea hurteri R. Hills & Wilkin, illustrated a...
Chapter
In the Introduction (Chap. 1) an account was given of the rationale for using the morphology of leaves as the source of raw material for automatic systems for the identification of plant species. In this chapter we focus on how morphological features have been used in statistical analysis to define taxa like species, test pre-existing species class...
Chapter
One of the key challenges for automated analysis of plant leaves lies in the range of variation presented by a species and even by a single plant (Fig. 2. 1). As well as the natural variation to be expected from any organic object, the variation of a leaf can arise from a number of sources, for example, its age and developmental stage. Shape varies...
Chapter
As discussed in Chap. 2, plant leaves contain many different morphological components (characters) that can be used in analysis for identification, such as outline shape, margin details and venation type. It is important to extract these components accurately from the leaves and generate appropriate descriptors for them.
Chapter
First-rate botanists have accumulated extensive experience in studying and identifying plants and this forms the foundation for their greater intuitive powers of species recognition. This suggests that it may be possible to improve on computational methods by investigating how botanists gather classificatory information from visual scanning of leav...
Article
One of the most immediately obvious features of organic life is its extraordinary diversity — Charles Darwin’s “endless forms” (Darwin 1859). Evolutionary biology attempts to understand how nature’s diversity arose and the sciences of ecology, genetics and physiology investigate the interactions of organisms and seek to understand how they function...
Chapter
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Each year we take a closer look at the status of plants in a particular region. This year we look at the current status of knowledge on plants in Madagascar.
Article
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Taxonomy provides a universal method to classify biodiversity at different scales locally and globally. Currently, existing taxonomic treatments are scattered, limiting their accessibility and utility. The Convention on Biological Diversity has responded to this challenge by setting the goal of compiling a World Flora Online (Global Strategy for Pl...
Article
Full-text available
Morphological character data are used to show that a distinct morphotype of Dioscorea L. from the Irodo valley (East of Sadjoavato) in Antsiranana Province of Madagascar is an undescribed species, differing in its leaf arrangement, pubescence form and male inflorescence structure from all other taxa. It is described as Dioscorea irodensis Wilkin, R...
Book
This book discusses innovative methods for mining information from images of plants, especially leaves, and highlights the diagnostic features that can be implemented in fully automatic systems for identifying plant species. Adopting a multidisciplinary approach, it explores the problem of plant species identification, covering both the concepts of...
Article
Full-text available
Background Dioscorea is a widely distributed and highly diversified genus in tropical regions where it is represented by ten main clades, one of which diversified exclusively in Africa. In southern Africa it is characterised by a distinct group of species with a pachycaul or “elephant’s foot” structure that is partially to fully exposed above the s...
Article
Full-text available
Yams (Dioscorea spp.) are a multispecies crop with production in over 50 countries generating ~50 MT of edible tubers annually. The long-term storage potential of these tubers is vital for food security in developing countries. Furthermore, many species are important sources of pharmaceutical precursors. Despite these attributes as staple food crop...
Article
Full-text available
Aim: Dioscorea (Dioscoreaceae) is a predominantly pantropical genus (< 600 species) that includes the third most important tropical tuber crop and species of pharmacological value. Fossil records from both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres were used to test hypotheses about the origin of the genus Dioscorea, and to examine potential macroevolut...
Article
Full-text available
Arthur Francis George Kerr’s life is reviewed and related to a previously published account. Kerr’s collecting activity is analysed using an expanded version of the Thai Biogeography Group’s database of collections. 8,666 of the total 48,970 collections are Kerr’s and 3,178 are those of his colleagues and friends. Therefore, the total number of col...
Article
This paper studies convolutional neural networks (CNN) to learn unsupervised feature representations for 44 different plant species, collected at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, England. To gain intuition on the chosen features from the CNN model (opposed to a 'black box' solution), a visualisation technique based on the deconvolutional networks (D...
Article
Full-text available
This paper provides an up-to-date linear sequence of monocot families and genera (excluding Orchidaceae and Poaceae) based on current phylogenetic evidence. The sequence is provided in a numbered list of each of the 1225 genera in 75 monocot families, together with a complementary alphabetical list. The sequence represents a standardized tool for t...
Article
Full-text available
The Dioscorea buchananii complex is shown to comprise three species, one of which is divided into two subspecies, based on morphological data. Two species, Dioscorea rupicola Kunth and Dioscorea multiloba Kunth, are endemic or subendemic to South Africa and of widespread occurrence in KwaZulu Natal. They differ markedly from each other in infloresc...
Article
Full-text available
Endogenous viral sequences are essentially ‘fossil records’ that can sometimes reveal the genomic features of long extinct virus species. Although numerous known instances exist of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) genomes becoming stably integrated within the genomes of bacteria and animals, there remain very few examples of such integration events in p...
Article
Full-text available
Arthur Francis George Kerr’s life is reviewed and related to a previously published account. Kerr’s collecting activityis analysed using an expanded version of the Thai Biogeography Group’s database of collections. 8,666 of the total 48,970 collections are Kerr’s and 3,178 are those of his colleagues and friends. Therefore, the total number of coll...
Article
Human beings can become experts in performing specific vision tasks, for example, doctors analysing medical images, or botanists studying leaves. With sufficient knowledge and experience, people can become very efficient at such tasks. When attempting to perform these tasks with a machine vision system, it would be highly beneficial to be able to r...