Projects

We are currently advertising DTP and CASE studentships for October 2019 start. The deadline for applications is the 26th November 2018.

26 / 09 / 2018

Extending the duration of fertility in bread wheat (BODEN_J19CASE1)

how to apply

Seed production is an integral stage within the life-cycle of sexually reproducing plants, which initiates when the pollen is received by the stigma and germinates to form a pollen tube that delivers sperm cells to the ovule. The reciprocity and survival of the stigma is critical to this process, especially for cross-pollinating plants that await the arrival of pollen from a neighbouring plant. The objective of this project is to characterize the development and life-cycle of the stigma and bread wheat, with the aim of extending the duration of fertility. This project is important because very little is known about the physiology, development or molecular biology of female reproductive organs in wheat, and more knowledge is required to improve the efficiency of hybrid seed production. Hybrid seed production is used in agriculture to produce superior performing crop plants by cross-pollinating genetically distinct parental lines of a given crop species to produce progeny that out-perform both of the parent lines. Hybrids have been used successfully in maize, rye and barley, but has been used less in wheat due to limitations in hybrid seed production. Hybrid seed production has been restricted in wheat for multiple reasons, including the poor survival and short duration of pollen reciprocity of the female stigma. This study will use advanced molecular and genetic techniques and resources (e.g. RNA-seq, microscopy, mutant populations) to identify ways to extend the duration of stigma reciprocity and delay cell death to benefit the production of hybrid seed. This research project therefore has outstanding opportunities to provide fundamental knowledge about an important aspect of plant reproductive biology and to deliver outcomes that will benefit breeding programs.