Glenn Thorlby



Dr Glenn Thorlby is a plant molecular biologist with specialised experience in gene discovery and functional genomics. He leads Scion’s Plant Biotechnology research that aims to use biotechnology to add value the forest economy.


  • PhD (Plant Molecular Biology), University of London, London, UK - 1990
  • BSc (Hons) (Microbial Genetics), University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK - 1986

Research capabilities

  • Plant molecular genetics
  • Genetic Engineering and gene editing, functional genomics
  • Plant biotic and abiotic stress tolerance
  • Plant reproduction and sterility
  • Plant secondary metabolites
  • The regulation of GMOs

Career highlights

  • Research leader, Plant Biotechnology, Scion, 2014 – present
  • Research Leader, Industrial Biotechnology, Scion, 2011 - 2014
  • Invited speaker, 7th International Plant Cold Hardiness Seminar (IPCHS), Sapporo, Japan, July 2004

Selected papers

Panter, P., E. Kent, O. Dale, M. Smith S., J.Skipsey, M. Thorlby, G.  Cummins, I. Ramsay, N. Begum, R., A., Sanhueza, D., Fry, S., C. Knight, M., R. and Heather Knight, H (2019). “MUR1-mediated cell-wall fucosylation is required for freezing tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana.” New Phytologist (in press).
Fritsche, S., A. L. Klocko, A. Boron, A. Brunner and G. Thorlby (2018). "Strategies for engineering reproductive sterility in plantation forests." Frontiers in Plant Science 9: 1671.
Fritsche, S., C. Poovaiah, E. MacRae and G. Thorlby (2018). "A New Zealand perspective on the application and regulation of gene editing." Frontiers in Plant Science 9.
Graichen, F. H. M., W. J. Grigsby, S. J. Hill, L. G. Raymond, M. Sanglard, D. A. Smith, G. J. Thorlby, K. M. Torr and J. M. Warnes (2017). "Yes, we can make money out of lignin and other bio-based resources." Industrial Crops and Products 106: 74-85.
Amid, A., A. Lytovchenko, A. R. Fernie, G. Warren and G. J. Thorlby (2012). "The sensitive to freezing3 mutation of Arabidopsis thaliana is a cold-sensitive allele of homomeric acetyl-CoA carboxylase that results in cold-induced cuticle deficiencies." Journal of experimental botany 63(14): 5289-5299.
Knight, H., Garton, S., Ülker, B., Gao, D., Thorlby, G. and Knight, M.R. (2009) “Identification of SFR6, a key component in cold acclimation acting post-translationally on CBF function.” Plant Journal. 8, 97-108.
Fourrier, N., Bédard, J., Lopez-Juez, E., Barbrook, A., Bowyer, J., Jarvis, P., Warren, G. and Thorlby, G. (2008) “A role for SENSITIVE TO FREEZING2 in protecting chloroplasts against freeze induced damage in Arabidopsis.” Plant Journal, 55, 734-45.
Garton S., Knight H, Warren G, Knight M.R. and Thorlby G.J. (2007) “crinkled leaves 8, a mutation in the large sub-unit of ribonucleotide reductase leads to defects in leaf development and chloroplast division in Arabidopsis thaliana.” Plant Journal, 50, 118-127.
Thorlby G.J., Fourrier N. and Warren G. (2004) “The SENSITIVE TO FREEZING2 Gene, Required for Freezing Tolerance in Arabidopsis thaliana, Encodes a ß-Glucosidase.” Plant Cell, 16, 2192-2203.