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

Molecular regulation of branching in wheat (BODEN_J19DTP2)

how to apply

Branching defines the shape and form of a plant and contributes significantly to grain and fruit production by determining the numbers of flowers that form from the germination of a single seed. In cereals, the branches that form grain-producing flowers are called tillers, and modification of tiller numbers has been important for optimising grain production during domestication. In wheat, very little is known about the genetic regulation of tiller development and growth; however, we have identified that an important gene called TEOSINTE BRANCHED1 (TB1) regulates tiller number in a dosage dependent manner, such that increased dosage of TB1 reduces tiller numbers. As part of this study, we identified naturally occurring variant alleles of TB1 that alter inflorescence architecture, and we hypothesise that these alleles can also be used to modified tiller branching and that they will help uncover the underlying molecular processes that control tiller development and outgrowth. The student selected for this project will use advanced genetic material (e.g. isogenic and transgenic lines, mutant populations) and RNA-seq analysis to characterise the effect of these TB1 alleles on tiller numbers and to identify the genetic pathways that underpin TB1-dependent control of tiller numbers. The student will also expand discoveries from the lab to the field by investigating the potential for increased tiller numbers to boost the yield potential of wheat. The outcomes of this project will benefit national and international breeding programmes by providing knowledge and resources, which will provide the student with an opportunity to travel and receive training in wheat breeding and performing field trail analysis.