Dr Sandy Hetherington

Research interests

The evolution of rooting systems.

Group leader: Professor Liam Dolan

 

Dr Alexander (Sandy) Hetherington is an evolutionary biologist whose research spans the study of both extant and extinct plant species. Sandy carried out an MSci in Geology at the University of Bristol before moving to St Catherine’s College Oxford to undertake his DPhil. His DPhil was part of the Interdisciplinary Bioscience Doctoral Training Programme with his primary research project undertaken in the Department of Plant Sciences under the supervision of Prof. Liam Dolan. Sandy’s thesis titled the “Evolution and morphology of lycophyte root systems” was awarded the Irene Manton Prize from the Linnean Society of London. On completing his DPhil he was awarded a junior research fellowship from Magdalen College.

 

The aim of Sandy’s current research is to uncover the origin and early diversification of plant roots – an organ whose origin made profound changes to the terrestrial landscape and was essential for plants to evolve the tree life habit. Studying the exceptionally preserved fossil plants in the 407 million year old Rhynie Chert, and comparing the characters of their rooting systems with those of living plants, Sandy aims to reconstruct the anatomy and development of the rooting system present in the first vascular plants.

Publications

 

Hetherington AJ, Dolan L. 2019. Rhynie chert fossils demonstrate the independent origin and gradual evolution of lycophyte roots. Current Opinion in Plant Biology. 47: 119–126.

 

Hetherington AJ, Dolan L. 2018. Stepwise and independent origins of roots among land plants. Nature. 561: 235–238.

 

Nishiyama T, Sakayama H, de Vries J, Buschmann H, Saint-Marcoux D, Ullrich KK, Haas FB, Vanderstraeten L, Becker D, Lang D et al. 2018. The Chara genome: secondary complexity and implications for plant terrestrialization. Cell. 174: 448-464

Hetherington AJ, Dolan L. 2018. Bilaterally symmetric axes with rhizoids composed the rooting structure of the common ancestor of vascular plants. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B. 373: 20170042.

Bowman JL, Kohchi T, Yamato KT, Jenkins J, Shu S, Ishizaki K, Yamaoka S, Nishihama R, Nakamura Y, Berger F et al. 2017. Insights into land plant evolution garnered from the Marchantia polymorpha genome. Cell. 171: 287-304.

Hetherington AJ, Dolan L. 2017. The evolution of lycopsid rooting structures; conservatism and disparity. New Phytologist. 215: 538–544.

Bonnot C, Proust H, Pinson B, Colbalchini F, Lesly-Veillard A, Breuninger H, Morieri G, Champion C, Hetherington AJ, Kelly S, Dolan L. 2017. Functional PTB phosphate transporters are present in streptophyte algae and early diverging land plants. New Phytologist. 214: 1158–1171.

Honkanen S, Jones VA, Morieri G, Champion C, Hetherington AJ, Kelly S, Saint-Marcoux D, Proust H, Prescott H, Dolan L. 2016. Mechanisms controlling the formation of the plant cell surface in tip-growing cells are functionally conserved among land plants. Current Biology. 26: 3238–3244.

Catarino B*, Hetherington AJ*, Emms DM, Kelly S, Dolan L. 2016. The stepwise increase in the number of transcription factor families in the Precambrian predated the diversification of plants on land. Molecular Biology and Evolution. 33: 2815–2819.

*Joint first authors

Hetherington AJ, Dubrovsky JG, Dolan L. 2016. Unique cellular organization in the oldest root meristem. Current Biology 26: 1629–1633.

Hetherington AJ, Berry CM, Dolan L. 2016. Networks of highly branched stigmarian rootlets developed on the first giant trees. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 113: 6695–6700.

Hetherington AJ, Sherratt E, Ruta M, Wilkinson M, Deline B, Donoghue PC. 2015. Do cladistic and morphometric data capture common patterns of morphological disparity? Palaeontology. 58: 393–399. 

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14/10/2019 03:10:51
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