Defining the function of Arabidopsis candidate genes in the regulation of barley seed germination

Lead Research Organisation: University of Nottingham
Department Name: Sch of Biosciences


This project will define the function of key candidate genes in barley germination and malting quality by transferring information from genetic studies in Arabidopsis. Using the multidisciplinary team assembled here, for the first time we will be able to answer specific questions about the comparative biology of germination, the function of key regulatory pathways, and the influence of these components on malting characteristics and brewing functionality. The project will provide new genetic resources for germination studies and present a framework for the successful transfer of information from Arabidopsis to cereals.

Technical Summary

The recent BBSRC review of research relevant to Crop Science stated that a major objective for the future should be the transfer of information gained from studies in plant science (principally Arabidopsis) and genomics to address important agricultural species and problems. In this proposal we will do exactly that, utilising information about the genetics of germination in Arabidopsis to obtain barley genetic resources that will be used to analyse germination, malting and brewing performance. We will use the resources made available through the SCRI barley TILLING (Targetted Induced Local Lesions IN Genomes) programme to identify mutants with lesions in defined candidate genes, previously shown to be major regulators of germination and seedling establishment in Arabidopsis. By analysing specific candidate genes we will be able for the first time to take a highly targeted genetic approach to understanding and manipulating barley germination characteristics, traits that are crucial to the brewing industry, and to improving the sustainable, lower energy production of quality barley seeds (with reduced possibility of pre-harvest sprouting [PHS]) and malt. Hypotheses being addressed by the work programme are: A. General: a. It is possible to transfer genetic information from Arabidopsis to Barley via candidate genes. b. Candidate genes can be used to understand the comparative developmental genetics of germination between barley and Arabidopsis (spanning the monocot/eudicot divide). B. Specific questions relating to the COMATOSE gene (CTS); a. What is the function of CTS in barley development b. What is the function of FA breakdown in barley germination/establishment c. Does perturbation of CTS function influence malting quality and brewing characters
Description New scientific information about how plants grow
Exploitation Route Further scientific research
Sectors Agriculture

Food and Drink