Hetherington Lab

About the Molecular Palaeobotany and Evolution Group

A photograph of a mossy rock taken with a macro lens

In the Molecular Palaeobotany and Evolution Group (MPEG) led by Dr Sandy Hetherington we study the key innovations that enabled plants to colonise and radiate over the Earth’s surface.

Our current focus is to investigate the origin and evolution of the phloem, the food transport tissue in plants.

To investigate the evolution of the phloem and other key land plant innovations we combine evidence from fossils, studies of development from living species and comparative omics approaches.   

We are very well placed here in the Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences to carry out this research; with the great growth, omics and imaging facilities in the School of Biological Sciences and the brilliant collections of the two project partners, the living collections in the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh and fossil collections in the National Museums of Scotland.

A image of a transverse section through the stem of the fossil plant species Rhynie showing exceptional preservation

An overview of the research in the group

Photograph of the members of the Hetherington lab at Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Meet the group

Follow us on Twitter

Keep up to date with the progress of the group on Twitter @MPEG_Edinburgh

Latest News

  • January 2022: Welcome to our new postdoc Rafael!
  • January 2022: New review paper about the periderm led by Laura Ragni out in Annual Review of Plant Biology
  • November 2021: Congratulations to Holly-Anne who was awarded the Botanical Society of Scotland student thesis prize!
  • October 2021: Welcome to our new PhD students Laura, Tea and Sannie
  • August 2021: New description of Asteroxylon mackiei from the Rhynie chert published in eLife
Photograph of an old scientific papers

Read papers from the group

Photograph of Sandy Hetherington giving a conference presentation

Watch videos featuring the group

A view of Edinburgh Castle from Calton Hill

How to join the group

Information about our work beyond the lab including outreach, blog posts and the group in the news