Identifying and exploiting genetic variation controlling seed yield and quality in oilseed crops

Lead Research Organisation: John Innes Centre
Department Name: Contracts Office


The project is a collaboration between three labs in the UK (JIC), France (INRA Versailles) and Germany (Univ. Potsdam). The overall objective of the collaboration is to conduct a multidisciplinary approach to understand the functions of genes in seed development. Four species will be studied: Capsella and Arabidopsis to link depth of knowledge to extensive developmental variation, and B. napus and Camelina, an established and an emerging oilseed crop. The central objective of the UK part of the project is to use a set of diverse oilseed rape lines for identifying genetic variation and potential causal genes for a variety of phenotypes relevant to yield. The specific objectives are to:

1. Use associative transcriptomics to identify genetic variation influencing seed size, seed number, pod number and pod length in 90 B. napus lines in the 2014 and 2015 growing seasons;
2. Compare the potential causal genes in B. napus to the functions of candidate genes in Arabidopsis;
3. Conduct RNAseq analysis of seed gene expression in B. napus lines and use this to supplement the association studies;
4. Contribute to multi-scale phenotying of B. napus seed development, using protein composition, lipid and sugar levels from 90 varieties to complement the association studies;
5. Contribute to studies of variation in expression profiles of key regulatory genes in 90 varieties.


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