In barley and wheat substantial proportions of the chromosomes are inherited together as a large linkage block, preventing the generation of novel gene combinations and useful variation that could be exploited in breeding and genetics programs. In these crops, the distribution of meiotic crossover events is skewed toward the telomere regions meaning that up to half of the genes rarely if ever recombine.
Aphids are economically important pests globally, and can cause significant yield loss of crops, including barley. Currently there are no commercial barley cultivars that are resistant against aphids, and only limited sources of partial resistance have been reported to date. As a consequence, control of aphids mainly relies on the use of insecticides. In this project we aim to address the lack of available resistance in cereals to aphids pests by identifying new resistance sources in barley.
This PhD project will provide comprehensive training for the successful candidate in potato genetics (diploid and tetraploid) as well as plant-pathogen genomics/co-evolution. The student will generate and analyse state-of-the-art Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) data for the genetic mapping and the cloning of resistances effective against the late blight pathogen Phytophthora infestans in established segregating populations.
Receptor-like kinases are the principal means by which plants perceive their physical extracellular environment. As a result Receptor-like kinases regulate many aspects of development, pathogen perception, interaction with nodulating bacteria and cell wall remodelling and as a result are of particular interest for improving plant responses to environmental perturbations such as climate change and emerging pathogens or improving food yield.
Plants perceive extracellular physical stimuli, such pathogens, symbionts, hormones or cell wall stress, through Receptor-like kinases. Activation of Receptor-like kinases leads to intracellular signalling through multiple routes from the plasma membrane, cytoplasm and nucleus . S-acylation is a lipid based post-translational modification known to regulate many aspects of protein function including affinity for membranes and membrane microdomains.
Huge potential exists for using waste plant biomass (straw, grain husks etc) as a renewable and sustainable feedstock for making fuels and chemicals or as animal feed. Using plant biomass for industrial biotechnology in a bio-based economy will displace the use of oil and fossil fuels, thereby reducing carbon dioxide emissions and mitigating climate change. Plant biomass is largely composed of plant cell walls which are naturally recalcitrant to being broken down into components that can be fermented into useful products or used in industrial processes.