BBSRC Embrapa: Temperature resilience of flowering in UK and Brazilian wheat (TempRe)

Lead Research Organisation: Rothamsted Research
Department Name: Plant Biology & Crop Science


The project involves Rothamsted Research, University of Nottingham, and Embrapa Trigo. Between them the teams have expertise in the genetic control of abiotic stress tolerance, developmental genetics of flower formation, and metabolic signalling systems. They bring a range of complementary techniques, from systems biology and bioinformatics through genetics and physiology to wheat transformation. All three institutions are well-equipped, with facilities for all aspects of the study in place. The aim is to study the response of UK and Brazilian wheat to temperature stress between booting and flowering using molecular, whole-plant and transgenic approaches.

UK team:
Prof. Nigel Halford, RRes: Expertise in the genetics of metabolic regulation in crop plants and how metabolism is affected by abiotic stress, using techniques ranging from mathematical modelling of metabolic networks through molecular and biochemical analyses of signalling factors to RNAseq and GC-MS analyses. Visited Embrapa Trigo in 2013.
Dr Matthew Paul, RRes: Expertise in trehalose 6-phosphate signalling, the role of sugar signalling in responses to abiotic stresses, and manipulation to improve yield under stress conditions. Uses a range of molecular and physiological techniques, as well as innovative chemistry.
Prof Huw Jones, RRes: Leads wheat transformation at RRes, exploiting gene up-regulation, RNAi silencing and genome editing and validating 30 different gene promoters. Participated in the BBSRC/Embrapa workshop on wheat improvement in 2011 and will deliver a plenary lecture in the XV Brazilian Congress of Plant Physiology in 2015. Has experience of GMO risk assessment and GM field management.
Professor Zoe Wilson, University of Nottingham: Expertise in plant developmental genetics, specifically the regulation of pollen and anther development. Current research involves the translation of pollen gene networks from models to wheat and barley, and temperature stress during pollen development in Arabidopsis, wheat and crops such as Bambara Ground Nut, which show tolerance to extreme temperatures.
Prof John Foulkes, University of Nottingham: Expertise in the traits determining stress tolerance in wheat. Current research includes the development of high-throughput remote sensing phenotyping, the physiological and genetic basis of ear fertility and the identification of novel genes controlling tillering, spikelet primordia number and floret fertility. Visited Embrapa Trigo in 2013.

Brazil team:
Dr Edina Moresco. Embrapa Trigo: Expertise in wheat breeding, specifically quantitative genetics, classical breeding techniques, G x E and plant/pathogen interactions, with a focus on evaluation and selection of plants for abiotic stress tolerance.
Dr Antonio Nhani Jr, Embrapa Trigo: Expertise in bioinformatics applied to the identification of molecular markers and the analysis of wheat transcriptome data related to biotic and abiotic stresses.
Dr Elene Yamazaki Lau: Expertise in molecular biology and biotechnology; currently developing A. tumefaciens-mediated genetic transformation protocols for wheat in order to generate lines with increased tolerance to abiotic stresses, including heat.
Dr Jorge Fernando Pereira: Expertise in the molecular basis of abiotic stress responses in wheat and barley; also has interests in developing wheat and barley transformation techniques.
Dr Luciano Consoli: Expertise in molecular genetics and wheat pre-breeding; investigating abiotic stress responses and pre-harvest sprouting using association genetics and QTL studies.
Dr Mauro Cesar Celaro Teixeira: Expertise in the mechanisms underpinning stress tolerance and yield potential of wheat cultivars in harsh environments.
Dr Osmar Rodrigues: Expertise in plant physiology; currently studying the physiological bases for yield formation and grain set on wheat during the winter growing season in the Southern part of Brazil.
Aretha Arcen P. Correa, PhD student

Technical Summary


Planned Impact

This project addresses temperature resilience in wheat, a key issue relating to the security of wheat supply in Brazil and many other countries in South and Central America and worldwide. The partner institutions comprise Rothamsted Research, home of the BBSRC's 20-20 wheat programme, the University of Nottingham, one of the UK's leading agricultural research universities, and EMBRAPA-Trigo, Brazil's premier wheat research institute, providing access to a range of expertise and resources. Bringing together these internationally-recognised scientific groups has huge potential for collaborative research, and this will be strengthened by the project's alignment with activities under the UK-Brazil Partnership for Yield Stability and Protection in a Changing Climate (PYSP). PYSP is part-funded by a Newton-fund joint centre award, is jointly co-ordinated by Rothamsted Research and EMBRAPA, and seeks to align complementary skills and capacities between the UK and Brazil to address food security and the stability of food production.


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Description The workshop identified heat stress at flowering to be the major abiotic stress preventing the widespread cultivation of wheat in the Cerado region of Brazil. A strong full application was submitted on that topic but unfortunately no abiotic stress projects were supported.
Exploitation Route We stand by our finding and continue to collaborate on the topic with one of the Brazilian partners.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Environment

Description Visiting student 
Organisation Sao Paulo State University
Country Brazil 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Hosting visiting student
Collaborator Contribution A student will visit my lab in 2017 to analyse wheat anther samples from heat-stressed Brazilian wheat
Impact Ongoing
Start Year 2017